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Bringing Singapore's digital harbour plans ashore

Anthony McLachlan, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, Ciena | Sept. 8, 2015
To effectively create a "data centre corridor" in Singapore, cost-effective and strategic interconnection amongst selected data centres must be provided.

Anthony McLachlan, Ciena
Photo: Anthony McLachlan

In 2015, the Singapore government will finalise the "Digital Harbour" master plan that will guide the development of the city-state's infocomm and media (ICM) sectors until 2025. The government's strategy is to keep Singapore at the technological forefront of the region by continually attracting and retaining cloud computing, regional content distribution and data analytics businesses. The most important components of the strategy are the provision of telecoms and physical infrastructure for data centres, submarine and broadband connectivity.

Data centre infrastructures are critical to anchor and distribute premium content in Singapore. However, to effectively create a "data centre corridor" in Singapore that offers fast access to regional and overseas markets, cost-effective and strategic interconnection amongst selected data centres must be provided. The interconnection must offer the highest levels of security and privacy, and be robust and resilient enough to handle the needs of Asia's web-scale businesses.

Singapore has built upon its natural advantages such as its strategic geographic location and deep water harbour by becoming a key Internet exchange and submarine cable hub. A glance at the TeleGeography telecom map confirms that virtually all of the Internet traffic from Asian countries (except Japan) flows to the West through Singapore. Becoming Asia's 'Internet harbour' by offering unmatched high-speed submarine and broadband connectivity is a natural evolution for Singapore.

Today, Singapore is at the hub of a web-scale era that is seeing an explosion of Internet traffic driven by on-demand video streaming, virtualised network functions, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Singapore's businesses have taken to cloud computing in a big way, with users expecting connect, compute and storage services around the clock. Additionally, the dynamic, "viral" nature of the online world today means that traffic patterns can vary dramatically from day to day. To achieve its aspirations in the "web-scale" era, old network architecture platforms are no longer sufficient.

Existing networks cannot scale economically to great capacity or handle the changes wrought by cloud and data centre migration, mobile broadband, and today's on-demand world. A new network architecture is needed that requires minimum labor-intensive and expensive management, instead providing automated, streamlined data traffic management and control.

Programmable optical and packet capabilities can scale exponentially to handle the needs of web-scale businesses, at a much lower price point than legacy architectures. New software automation and orchestration capabilities are now available that increase the flexibility of the network to handle different types of traffic and thus reduce operational costs. Network technology and data centre technology should interconnect and work together seamlessly enabling both efficiency and a variety of new services.


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