Data centers getting steamed up

About 18 companies are jostling for position in the data center arena. Many are looking into niche areas creating their own markets with innovative services, hoping their marketing mix will see them through.
Written by Lim Fung Meng, Contributor

About 18 companies are jostling for position in the data center arena. Many are looking into niche areas creating their own markets with innovative services, hoping their marketing mix will see them through.  

SINGAPORE - Two of Singapore's leading data center operators - Webvisions and iSTT - are excited about the burgeoning cybercarrier industry as they find that the whole ISP services business is still growing.

"As the [cybercarrier] market develops, we'll start to find folks moving into niche areas and differentiating themselves through interesting services. The marketing mix of these services will then determine who will succeed and who won't," said Roger Lim, CEO of Webvisions, which has garnered an Internet Service Provider (ISP) license in Singapore last week.

Hosting more than 6,000 companies from 30 countries, Webvisions plans to offer a full suite of ISP-based services including resale of leased circuit services, public Internet access, Internet exchange, virtual private network, managed data network, remote access and global roaming services.

These new services complement Webvisions current range of premium Internet hosting solutions for mission-critical applications, which includes virtual server, dedicated server, complex co-location and system management services.

Even more optimistic about the whole cybercarrier industry is Tay Kiong Hong, chief operating officer at i-STT Pte Ltd. "Competition from traditional technology vendors adds excitement to our business and creates an environment that compels data center service providers to offer customers the best value. Being carrier-neutral and vendor-neutral differentiates us and this enables us to integrate various hardware, software, applications, bandwidth and connectivity options for a best-of-breed solution that best addresses the market needs."

Let's go build
In addition to Webvisions and iSTT, more than 18 independent and telco companies are known to have announced their plans to build data centers.

According to Lucent Technologies and other sources, they include Asia Online, AT&T, Breakaway Solutions, Crosswave Communications & Internet Initiative Japan, DataOne, Exodus, GlobalCenter, iAsiaWorks, Japan Telecom, Korea Telecom, Hanaro and Dacom, New World Cyberbase, NTT, Pacific Century CyberWorks, Pacific Internet Exchange Corporation (PIXC), PSINet, Singapore Telecom and UUNET.

Snapshot of Data Center growth

AT&T By the end of this year, AT&T will double the size of its existing ten centers in the US and will also be operating internationally in at least three locations; the United Kingdom, Germany and the Asia/Pacific region. The 26 data centers will be co-located on AT&T's OC-48 IP backbone, a 100-percent digital, fully redundant network. The company is also testing an innovative caching and distribution technology that improves website performance and speeds the delivery of web pages to visitors. Through Breakaway Solutions' data centers in both the U.S. and overseas, Net users are now able to download the StarOffice software. Boston-based Breakaway has seven regional offices and three Internet solutions centers in the U.S., along with 10 application hosting facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Crosswave Communications Crosswave Communications & Internet Initiative Japan has announced plans to jointly build a string of Internet data centers across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
DataOne DataOne, one of Singapore's latest ISP has announced aggressive expansion plans to invest an initial S$30 to $50 millions to roll-out data centers in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia & Philippines by September this year.
Exodus The Santa Clara-based Exodus, which counts eBay as one of its customers, announced plans in May this year to add data centers in Asia and Europe and will expand capacity at some of its current US sites.
GlobalCenter GlobalCenter Inc., a Global Crossing Ltd. subsidiary and leading Internet services company, has ten world-class data centers located in major cities throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, including London, New York City, Sunnyvale and Melbourne.
iAsiaWorks Early this year, iAsiaWorks, a pan-Asian Internet solutions provider, has signed a long-term agreement with Hong Kong's iAdvantage, a Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. subsidiary and SUNeVision member company, to lease premium space for world-class data center facilities in Hong Kong and China.
Japan Telecom & NTT Communications Japan Telecom has announced plans to open two data centers in Tokyo, and one in Osaka by this year while NTT Communications, which has just acquired the remaining shares in US-based web host Verio, has built a data center in Tokyo.
Korea Telecom Korea Telecom, along with IBM, opened a mammoth Data Center in eastern Seoul (Mok-dong) in May 2000. Plans to build in six other Korean cities by 2003 include Pusan, Kwangju, Taegu, Taejon, Yoido and Kangnam. All facilities will be connected to form a nationwide network of Internet Data Centers. Korea-based Dacom and Hanaro has one data center each that is being used to host ASP services in Seoul.
New World Cyberbase New World Cyberbase has plans to build ten data centers throughout the Asia Pacific region by year-end 2002 at a cost of approx. $800M. Its China data centers are located in Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xian and Wuhan.
PIXC Called "the Pacific Rim's most exciting high tech venture", Pacific Internet Exchange Corporation (PIXC) was publicly introduced in January 2000 after nearly a year of planning, construction and international negotiations. PIXC's mission is to become the premier provider of neutral state-of-the-art Internet Exchange (IX) facilities throughout the world. Starting in Honolulu, PIXC's initial objective is to build a dozen Internet exchanges throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
PSINet In Oct 99, PSINet opened Japan's biggest data center called Tokyo Global Hosting Center. It has plans to open data centers in Hong Kong, Seoul, Sydney, and Kanto and Kansai area in Japan.
SingTel & UUNET Singapore Telecom has plans to invest US$60 million in Asia. It opened its first in Singapore in April this year and UUNET has located their data center in Australia
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