Digital Realty breaks ground on new Sydney data centre

NYSE-listed Digital Realty has broken ground on a new Sydney data centre at Erskine Park.

The new Sydney 11 data centre mdash; SYD11 mdash; will be adjacent to the company’s existing SYD10 facility. The company also operates a North Ryde data centre, SYD12, and two data centres in Melbourne (MEL10 and MEL11).

The decision to build a new data centre is a product of the high level of utilisation of the company’s existing facilities coupled with the fact that a number of Digital Realty’s global top-tier clients are looking to grow “in a very big way” in Australia, the company’s CFO for APAC, Krupal Raval, told Computerworld.

“In Sydney we’re at 99.8 per cent full mdash; so effectively 100 per cent full mdash; even in Melbourne, we’re at 92 per cent,” the CFO said. “So if you look at it on a weighted average for the entire country, we’re at 95.9 per cent.”

The 16,360 square metre SYD11 data centre will offer 14 megawatts of power.

“The first Sydney 10 building was 86,000 square feet and the new one will be more than double that at 176,000 square feet,” the CFO said. “If you’re measuring it in megawatts of power, it’s also roughly doubled. The reason we’re building at that scale is really elementary: Major cloud service providers have huge growth expectations for this region and we’re just mirroring that and investing our capital to reflect their growth.”

Peter Adcock, Digital Realty’s APAC vice-president, design and construction, said that the data centre would use the latest economiser units from Vertiv for cooling. “Their pumped refrigerant economisers are giving us a PUE of about 1.35 for this site; so that is without using any water and it gives us a high level of resilience with a very granular performance,” Adcock said.

Construction of the building is expected to take around 12 months and employ up to 500 local contractors, Digital Realty said.

“This building was originally designed and permitted to be built in two phases; however after discussions with the pipeline of potential tenants and also the builders, we’re probably looking to build the shell of the whole building all at once and then we’ll fit out the internal modules,” Adcock said.

The facility will be based on Digital’s Turn-Key Flex PODs (‘performance optimised data centres’).

“We’ll be progressively fitting out those as the tenants commit because they sometimes request a slightly different variant on the configuration,” Adcock said. “Once we’ve got the building up, which is a 12-month process, that’ll include a standard fit out of the first POD.”

After that there is around a 20-week turnaround for PODs, which Adcock said was thanks to Digital’s global approach to procurement, with its strategic vendors having stock ready for the company.

Adcock said that because SYD11 is adjacent to SYD10 in Erskine Park there are already conduits at the boundary of the existing facility ready to connect to the new data centre, so there won’t be any delay waiting for new fibre to be rolled out.

“We can leverage off the back of Sydney 10 and get immediate connectivity to half a dozen different carriers,” he said.

Although he wouldn’t be drawn on plans for additional facilities in Australia, Raval told Computerworld: “I think there’s a lot of very interesting markets mdash; in Asia Pac broadly speaking but in Australia specifically mdash; that I think we’re extremely well position ted to grow in.”

Raval said that once Digital Realty’s merger with DuPont Fabros is closed off, the company would have an enterprise value of US$34 billion mdash; “which would make us one of the 10-largest real estate companies in the world,” the CFO said.

That scale delivers cost of capital advantages and Digital has a $2 billion line of credit allowing it to deploy capital into a range of markets around the world, Raval said.

“So a combination of our financial strengths as well as the depth of our relationships means that if any of these major cloud providers want to grow globally, it’s quite logical that they would want to come to a provider where they can easily contract; they can wash, rinse, repeat from prior contracts etc. It puts us at a nice advantage for being able to go to any market in the world, frankly.”

In Melbourne the company already owns a land bank adjacent to MEL10 and MEL11 that can support future expansion.

“To put it into perspective: The land that we’ve got at MEL12 would enable us to do a similar size as Sydney 11, which we think of as our ‘second generation’ in Australia,” Adcock said.

Omer Wilson, senior director of marketing APAC at Digital Realty; NSW MP Tanya Davies; Krupal Raval, CFO APAC at Digital Realty; and Peter Adcock, VP design and construction APAC at Digital Realty.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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