By Chris Palermo
Last week I received a call from a customer telling me that they are now ready to expand their data center reach into Asia. He wanted my opinion regarding the best location for deployment. I explained that this is a question I get quite frequently and if there were no other factors pushing their company toward any specific country in Asia, I would choose colocation in Singapore for the following reasons:
- The first thing to consider when sourcing colocation in Asia is to understand what countries are prone to natural disasters. The major Asian markets for colocation are Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Tokyo. Of those four countries, Singapore is the only one that does not sit on an active fault line. We have all heard about the recent devastating earthquake in Japan and, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, "Hong Kong on average records one or two locally-felt earthquakes a year." The Science Museums of China have reported that China, located between two large seismic belts, has recorded over 800 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6 or above since the start of the 20th century.
- How stable is the government in each country? I think Japan's government is ok but the country is in crisis mode financially, in addition to having dealt with the devastation of this year's earthquake. Most of China's significant power lies in the Communist Party of China. Hong Kong's government is financially independent from the Peoples Republic of China. Singapore's government was modeled after the British Parliament, and it has been an independent country for over 25 years.
- Singapore's currency is among the strongest in the world. The following quote was taken from the FinancialTimes.com on October 27, 2011. "The Singapore dollar hovered near all-time highs against the US dollar, albeit ending the day slightly weaker at S$1.35."
- Singapore's economy - "The 2011 World Bank ease of doing business index ranks Singapore as the best Country in the world to do business- ahead of Hong Kong and New Zealand." via EcononmyWatch.com.
- Overall environment - The rumors about Singapore being very clean are all true. The government employs people to walk the streets and make sure there is no overflowing garbage or debris on the streets or sidewalks. First time offenders caught littering small objects such as cigarette buts or tissues will get a S$300 fine. If they are caught littering larger objects such as a soda can, they are be subject to appearing in court with the potential to be sentenced to community service.
- Most of Asia's largest data center companies have invested in building their flagship data centers in Singapore. Over the last three years several new data centers have been built with more on the way.
- Singapore is a country that prides itself on having one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Wikipedia posts the following: In the Corruption Perception Index 2010, Singapore was ranked 1st out of 178 countries for corruption (it is important to note that the least corrupt countries are at the top of the list).
- Excellent mass transit - Singapore has three choices for mass transit: taxis, buses, and the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) a rail system that will take you within walking distance anywhere around the business areas of Singapore.
- The carrier density and overall telecommunication infrastructure in Singapore today has greatly increased over the last 3 years. As a result, the cost per Meg for IP has been cut by two-thirds and customers that wish to have a burstable GIG or 10G circuit no longer will have to commit to 30% of the circuit as a minimum. Connectivity between buildings has greatly increased, and Singapore now has 4 Internet Exchanges, SGIX, SOX, EMIX and Equinix IX.
- Don't think that all food in Singapore is what you see on the Travel channel, dead, skinned and hanging in the window of the restaurant. There are several places that provide that kind of "unique experience in local quisine," but there are also great restaurants to check out. Some of my favorites are Crystal Jade Palace, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant and OSO Ristorante (yes, Italian!).
Every country has its pros and cons for colocation in Asia. Singapore does have a few cons such as price and reach, but when you weigh the pros against the cons you will see that colocation in Singapore is a great place to start with your data center footprint for Asia.
I would love to share our knowledge about Singapore with you for your next project. Should you have questions about any upcoming project, please don't hesitate to contact me here, or via twitter at @SChrisPalermo.