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Huawei, Keppel team up on AI-powered datacentres

Huawei and Keppel test the use of artificial intelligence to improve datacentre operations and energy efficiency at a reference site in Singapore

Chinese technology giant Huawei and Singapore’s Keppel Data Centres Holdings (KDCH) have joined hands to test new datacentre technologies at a reference site located in the latter’s Keppel DC Singapore 4 datacentre in the eastern part of Singapore.

The collaboration follows an earlier memorandum of understanding signed between the two companies to improve datacentre efficiency and sustainability, as well as explore areas such as high performance computing, networking and scientific software development.

A key aspect of the reference site is the use of deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in what Huawei describes as “cognitive intelligence” to drive automated insights that will improve datacentre operations for enterprises.

It will also tap on virtualisation technologies to optimise energy consumption, while enabling enterprises to use a single interface to manage storage resources and data processing capabilities across different datacentres.

Wang Shao Tong, managing director at Huawei Enterprise Business Group in Singapore, said enterprises can expect to lower operating and maintenance costs while increasing operational efficiency through cognitive intelligence for datacentres.

“Enterprises are going through disruptive phases of digital transformation. They are expected to process massive volumes of data. For instance, for each autonomous vehicle, they can generate as much as 4TB per day,” Wang said.

“Enabling cognitive intelligence for datacentres will help enterprises identify gaps and opportunities quickly and move ahead of the competition. The collaboration with Keppel Data Centres will bring us one step closer to realising fully cognitive datacentres,” he added.

Kenny Khow, global head of sales at KDCH, said the company’s track record as a provider of robust and reliable datacentres has paved the way for its collaboration with Huawei.

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“Keppel Data Centres is committed to continuously explore improvements that benefit the mission-critical IT infrastructure of our customers and set industry benchmarks,” he added.

The partnership between KDCH and Huawei comes on the heels of Singapore’s efforts to spearhead developments in green datacentre technologies under the Green Data Centre Innovation Programme (GDCIP).

Under the GDCIP, Singapore will embark on a comprehensive review and assessment of emerging technologies which could significantly improve energy performance.

Its recommendations will guide the datacentre industry in charting its technology directions, such as using smart technologies to allocate computing resources in datacentres.

According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority, the 10 largest datacentre operators in Singapore account for energy consumption equivalent to 130,000 households across the country’s public housing estates.

It noted that an energy efficiency improvement of 20% in existing commercial datacentres in Singapore can potentially reap annual savings in excess of S$34m (US$24m).

Industry experts in Singapore have recently called for companies such as Keppel with expertise in building offshore structures like oil rigs to develop floating datacentres that take advantage of sustainable energy sources such as ocean currents.

“Floating datacentres for a world market could become a cornerstone of Singapore’s economy,” wrote Lim Soon Heng, managing director of floating structures supplier Floating Solutions in The Straits Times.

The idea is already being explored by technology giants such as Google, which had filed a patent for a floating datacentre as early as 2008. In 2016, Microsoft also began testing a prototype of an underwater datacentre in a research project known as Project Natick.

Besides having the ability to be deployed in just 90 days to meet the demands of natural disasters and special events like the World Cup, Microsoft said subsea datacentres also reduce network latency since half of the world’s population lives within 200km of the ocean.

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