In the past decade, Southeast Asia’s data centre industry has witnessed significant growth owing to several investments in Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Statistics also show that there will be more growth in the industry in the near future. A Research and Markets report predicts that the data centre market in the ASEAN region will record an 8% increase in the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2021 and 2026.

These centres are built to serve the increased demand for better internet networks and storage spaces for big data generated from the internet. This trend has brought about the need for data centre cooling in Southeast Asia. Due to the increased use of data and AI, experts predict that the ASEAN data centre cooling market will grow by $1.03 billion between 2021 and 2025, accounting for a 15% CAGR increase.

Data centre cooling involves using a collection of techniques, tools, equipment, and processes to ensure that a data centre facility is operating under an ideal temperature. As the data centre market increases in size, there is a growing need for energy-efficient cooling of the equipment. 

Also, the benefits of the technology and government regulations are expected to boost the growth of the data centre cooling market across industries, including telecommunications, IT and banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI).

Emerging trends in the industry in Southeast Asia

The ASEAN data centre cooling market is witnessing a strong presence of big companies in popular industries. Furthermore, there is a rising demand for new technologies due to the increasing focus on innovation, leading to more investments channelled towards further developments.

In August 2019, Nortek Air Solutions developed a 1,200 kW coolant distribution unit known as CDU1200. It is the single most powerful compact coolant distribution unit added to the company’s ServerCool data centre liquid cooling series. The technology is best suited for enterprise and high-performance computing data centres, corporate network edge, research, co-location, and government data centre setups. 

In April 2020, ZutaCore and Rittal released a solution known as Rittal HPC Cooled-by-Zutacore, a cooling system for companies that use intense computing power. The partnership aimed to support the data centre market evolution with its outstanding innovation that generates an output of over 900W per server. Rittal HPC Cooled-by-Zutacore is driven by direct contact evaporative cooling, which entails employing latent energy to evaporate refrigerant. 

The first climate-friendly data centre worldwide, EcoDataCenter employed a new technique for liquid-based cooling in May 2020. This technology was birthed from a collaboration between cooling technology company Iceotope, consulting firm Avnet and energy company Schneider. 

The Falun-based plant was initially driven by renewable energy sources where waste heat is channelled back to the heating plant. However, the plant integrated a novel chassis-based liquid cooling method to reduce energy consumption for the data centre by nearly 14%. It also decreases rack cooling energy consumption by up to 90%.

Furthermore, Asetek partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to develop data centre liquid cooling solutions in HPE Apollo Systems in June 2020. The solutions had density-optimised and high-performing capabilities required to serve AI and high-performance computing (HPC) needs. This innovation allows the use of high wattage processors in highly dense setups to support large computing workloads.

Factors driving the data centre cooling market in Southeast Asia

Fundamentally, the construction costs of data centres are high. It costs an average of $1,000 USD or $40,000 USD to set up a mere square foot or rack in a data centre, respectively. The cost of building and maintaining cooling solutions is among the challenges faced by data centres in Southeast Asia. 

However, some vendors are developing integration-friendly cooling solutions at an affordable cost. The cost of cooling solutions in data centres usually accounts for a large portion of the overall energy consumption. Therefore, business owners are looking to tackle the issue by using low-consumption and efficient cooling solutions. Some data centre owners have reduced cost and energy consumption by utilising chiller-less data centres that make use of natural air.

Data cooling solutions are 60% faster to integrate and operate while also helping companies reduce operational costs by up to 30%. They also offer other benefits, including enhanced reliability, simplified planning, and agility. As such, these solutions are becoming increasingly adopted by big data companies across the ASEAN region.

With an advanced usage of data and AI, data centre cooling in Southeast Asia will grow significantly over time. The growth in the industry is a result of private and public sector investments in projects related to the banking, telecommunication, and IT industries. Also, the increasing adoption of eCommerce in the region will lead to a rise in internet and data traffic, thereby aiding the growth of the ASEAN data centre cooling market in the future.