The Asia Pacific market is often described as diverse and growing, with investments in data centers growing at 8.6 percent per year from 2015 to 2017, according to data from DCD. But what are the factors fueling this growth, and what trends should we be watching?
Vincent Liew, the managing director of DCD in the Asia Pacific region, tells us that hybrid cloud is growing, and local Asian hubs wil benefit with growth rates not matched anywhere else in the world, while data center people race to keep their skills up to date.
Go where the cloud goes
“We see a common interest in the deployment of hybrid clouds, with a boost to growth in data center markets where the cloud giants such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud have located,” says Liew.
The regulatory environment and government support are boosting these markets, he explains: “Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong are all markets where the government has set aside data center-ready real estate or legislated to encourage data center investment, and this initiative is reflected in the significant growth shown.”
“The strongest growth is shown by outsourcing investment into colocation, public cloud services, and the development of hybrid IT systems. All of these indicate growth rates unmatched anywhere else in the world of 28 percent to 34 percent in 2017,” he said.
The region is really a patchwork of markets of unequal sizes and at differing stages of the technology evolution, says Liew. This means certain regions are growing rapidly by leapfrogging entire stacks of older technologies, while powerhouse economies such as China are starting to roll out cutting edge solutions of their own.
“Huawei, ZTE, China Unicom and China Telecom are ambitious companies, and have challenged the incumbent global players to innovate. It is very exciting for us to witness them grow strongly beyond their home markets,” he says.
In the face of rapid development and strong growth, it is no surprise that DCD teams in the region has also expanded: “Our Singapore office has grown significantly as we expand into more recently developing markets such as Indonesia and Thailand,” says Liew. “Our China office now focuses not only on their home events, but also in assisting Chinese businesses to build an export profile globally via our events across the world.”
A lot of things have changed since Liew joined DCD in 2005: “Back in the mid-2000s, we needed to focus solely on the facilities side of data centers. Today, cybersecurity, software-defined, open source, cloud computing and virtualization are central to our discussions, as they describe the future highlights of this dynamic industry,” he says.
“We will see the need for greater integration between IT and facilities teams for deployment to be successful, and we will need to update tools and skillsets required to combat cyber threats at both the physical and virtual layers,” he adds.
Data center technology continues to advance quicker than the market can adopt, Liew suggests, so data center professionals need to consider continuing education to stay relevant.
This is where the training arm of DCD comes into the picture, in the form of DCProfessional Development (DCPro) that was established in the Asia Pacific in 2010. Starting from just six classroom courses at that time, it has since grown to eight classroom courses today, on top of another 22 online courses.
Not everything has changed though, according to Liew who noted that all DCPro training is still coordinated in-house and focused on topics that are relevant and timely. The team also works hard to identify and understand clients’ needs, and suggests suitable trainers to ensure optimal learning experience and knowledge acquisition.
Of course, DCD does have a secret weapon in terms of its presence in other markets outside of Asia Pacific such as in the United States, Japan, and Europe.
“We listen closely to and work closely with technology leaders, industry partners, government agencies and as importantly, cultivate our relationships with key end-users in the market. Our presence in [various parts of the world] enables us to identify the practices and trends most important to our markets and to stay relevant,” said Liew.
Ultimately, DCD’s events and conferences come down to the people, says Liew. Many veterans and senior executives in the industry are friends with the DCD team and have kept in touch through various career moves. In 2017, DCD will continue with a series of regional events and the 4th Asia Pacific Awards.
“Our Asia Pacific offices are vibrant news floors where we get plenty of up to date information about the industry and business opportunities,” he says. If anything, the role of the community is even more important than ever today, with DCD constantly reaching out to experts and stakeholders within pertinent government agencies and regulatory bodies.
“Working in a fast-paced industry also means we require more partners to provide the top-level expertise in content and speakers for our new conference tracks, develop greater involvement of government agencies, and continuing our constant engagement with the markets,” says Liew.
“In this region we are also fortunate because different markets located close to one another can also learn from each other. This means we need to provide knowledge and future thinking fast and accurately while addressing the current challenges unique to each individual market in APAC,” he says.
“We will continue to help the industry build its pathway to future success, and take our regional audiences on a journey to tap into the diversity and strength of the unique markets that make up the Asia Pacific region.”