AirTrunk aims economy-of-scale at Asian data centre market
Thu 21 Jul 2016
Singaporean startup AirTrunk Pte is making a committed bid to undercut the scalable and modular market in Asia through massive pre-investment in data centre builds.
The company, which currently employs less than 50 people, has offices in Australia and Hong Kong – the two territories central to its initial strategy – with plans to develop high-end DC builds in Sydney and Melbourne, and an intention to sign deals in the next few months for similar developments in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Founder Robin Khuda, formerly chief financial officer and executive director at NextDC, said in an interview:
“Cloud computing in the Asia-Pacific is probably about three to four years behind the U.S., but there is a massive catch-up so cloud operators are investing significant money… Right now there’s an enormous shift to the cloud.”
AirTrunk will invest A$1.23 billion ($928 million / £703 million) in the Australia region over the next three or four years, with a quarter of that committed for the next 12 months, according to Khuda, with A$1 billion earmarked for similar builds in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The from-zero builds will allow AirTrunk to design its complexes with cooling specifically in mind, in order to save energy.
However, it’s a daring play for a mid-range DC provider in a market that’s becoming consolidated between scalable players and far better-founded majors such as NTT and Telstra. It’s also one that depends on meeting short-term conditions in the Asia market, not the least of which is data governance – an ever-growing factor in an increasingly political industry.
Up to now, according to Khuda, the company’s technology has been trialled in an Australian bank’s data centre, and also with a New Zealand phone company.
In Singapore, analogous rivals for AirTrunk include Alibaba, which recently opened a second availability zone at Level 3 multi-tier cloud security standard.