Pacnet looks up to cloud for data center growth

The first interview in ZDNet Asia's Intelligent Singapore video series, CTO Wilfred Kwan defines "intelligence" needed in data centers today and discusses growth opportunities cloud computing has created for the telecommunication services provider.

Pacnet looks up to cloud for data center growth

Changing market demand has changed the way data centers are constructed and designed today, with cloud computing offering new opportunities for growth.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Pacnet CTO Wilfred Kwan explained that the proliferation of the Internet and the way people now consume online content have put strong focus on energy consumption in data centers.

"These days, we need to provide more power to each cabinet than before," he explained, noting that customer demands have doubled or tripled the amount of kilowatts needed to power each server rack today, compared to four to five years ago.

This thirst for power has also driven the need to be "very user-friendly" from a power perspective, which is necessary not only respect the environment but also essential to achieve better business efficiencies, Kwan said.

If Pacnet is able to build data centers that are energy-efficient, it can save on power and drive down its energy bills, he added. The telecommunication services provider currently operates 29 data centers across 11 countries including Singapore and China.

Headquartered in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, the company currently has over 1,200 employees across 28 offices in 13 countries which include India, Malaysia, the Philippines and United States. Its clientele encompasses over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

According to Kwan, speed and flexibility remain key requirements that customers still demand from data centers today. "They want to make sure the design of the data center is very resilient and secured physically as well as from the network perspective," he said, adding that they want their data center providers to be available when needed.

"Today, they also want you to be proactive. They want someone that's really watching the space for them and that calls you when an issue pops up instead of them calling you first," he noted.

Pacnet has also been beefing up its network infrastructure to tap the booming cloud market. Elaborating on the opportunities, Kwan explained that most consumers today access content and services through a screen that is likely connected to the Internet. "A lot of applications are being pushed to the cloud...and that's happening in the enterprise space as well," he said. Apps that were previously not affordable to SMBs (small and midsize businesses) are now accessible via cloud services, he added.

And for cloud computing to be successful, the Internet needs to be accessible in a speedy fashion and it needs to be ubiquitous, he said. "The only capable players to provide that are data centers," he surmised.