Singtel develops eco-friendly data centers to support AI adoption

Singtel develops eco-friendly data centers to support AI adoption
Singtel develops eco-friendly data centers to support AI adoption (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Key Highlights
  • Efficient AI Data Centers: Singtel’s fourth-gen Tuas data center prioritizes efficiency for demanding AI workloads, integrating sustainable features and liquid cooling to reduce environmental impact
  • Tuas Facility’s Efficiency: Tuas data center achieves an impressive PUE ratio of around 1.23 at full load, significantly better than the global data center average of 1.58
  • Expansion and Sustainability: Singtel expands with data centers in Thailand and Indonesia, aiming for a total capacity exceeding 200 megawatts, while actively transitioning to green and renewable energy sources
  • AI Services and Market Growth: New data centers offer AI services connecting clusters to smart devices, contributing to a growing global GPUaaS market projected to reach $25.53 billion by 2030, with the Asia-Pacific region leading in growth
  • Financial Moves and Market Position: Singtel secures a S$535 million green loan and a S$1.1 billion KKR investment for its regional data center business. Despite these investments, as of Tuesday’s midday market break, Singtel’s shares remain flat at S$2.28

Singtel is working on creating advanced artificial intelligence (AI) data centers that are powerful and environmentally friendly. The first of these fourth-generation data centers is being built in Tuas and is specifically designed for handling demanding AI workloads, especially those involving graphic processor units (GPUs).

GPUs, initially developed for image processing, are crucial for tasks like managing big data, especially in fields like machine learning and creative productions. However, their high computational power comes at the cost of increased energy consumption and heat production.

The Tuas data center aims to address these challenges by incorporating sustainable features. It utilizes materials with lower carbon impact in its construction and integrates liquid cooling capabilities to enhance energy efficiency. This approach helps mitigate the environmental impact associated with high-energy GPUs.

To prevent GPUs from overheating, the fourth-generation data centers, including the one in Tuas, implement more efficient cooling solutions. The Tuas facility, with a capacity of 58 megawatts, is set to be Singtel’s largest data center and one of the industry’s most efficient. It is expected to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of around 1.23 at full load, where a ratio of one signifies optimal power efficiency.

Comparatively, a 2023 survey by the Uptime Institute revealed that the average annualized PUE ratio for data centers globally was 1.58. Singtel is also committed to transitioning its data centers to rely on green and renewable energy sources, aiming to reduce the overall carbon footprint of its operations.

“We are also working to transition the energy for our data centres with green and renewable sources to reduce the overall carbon footprint,” Chang added.

Singtel’s Regional Expansion and Sustainable AI Solutions

Singtel is not only working on DC Tuas but is also developing two other fourth-generation data center projects in Thailand and Indonesia. This expansion will boost Singtel’s total pipeline capacity to over 200 megawatts, up from its current operational capacity of 62 megawatts in Singapore.

To promote sustainability, the new data centers will include real-time server monitoring platforms for efficient management of GPU clusters. These data centers will cater to the AI needs of enterprises by connecting AI clusters to smart devices like autonomous systems. This allows AI to operate at the edge with high bandwidth and low latencies, enabling various industry applications.

Singtel’s AI data centers will provide core services such as cloud co-location, managed hosting, and GPU-as-a-Service (GPUaaS). GPUaaS allows enterprises to speed up the development of generative AI, large language models, and other AI workloads without the need for substantial upfront investments in AI data center space and GPUs.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global GPUaaS market is projected to reach $25.53 billion by 2030, growing from $3.16 billion in 2023. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to experience the highest growth rate during this period due to the region’s significant interest in AI, as highlighted by Singtel.

Singtel is actively expanding its regional data center business, securing a five-year green loan of S$535 million for data centers. In September, the company also disclosed a KKR investment of up to S$1.1 billion to enhance its stake in the regional data center business.

As of the midday market break on Tuesday, Singtel’s shares were trading flat at S$2.28.

Read the original article on Business Times

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