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Singtel spearheads the future of AI with innovative, sustainable data centres

Douglas Toh
Douglas Toh • 3 min read
Singtel spearheads the future of AI with innovative, sustainable data centres
Work on DC Tuas has already begun. Photo credit: Singtel
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Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) is developing a new era of artificial intelligence (AI) data centres (DCs) that are designed to efficiently handle the intensive workloads of enterprises and cloud companies.

“With the fast-growing adoption of AI across various industries, we see an inflexion point in the data centre industry for high power density, yet sustainable and hyper-connected AI DCs that are optimised to manage graphics processing unit (GPU) clusters for AI workloads. This is why we are building our fourth generation data centre platform specifically tailored for such intense compute environments,” says Bill Chang, CEO of Singtel's Digital InfraCo unit.

Singtel had already commenced the construction of its DC Tuas facility in August. The facility is poised to be the largest of its kind with a capacity of 58 megawatts (MW). It will also incorporate the latest in sustainability initiatives, with lower carbon embedded materials in its construction and leveraging liquid cooling capabilities to enhance energy efficiency. With a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of around 1.23 at full load, DC Tuas is set to be one of the industry's most efficient data centres.

DC Tuas will also be an integrated submarine cable landing station, offering global connectivity with carrier neutrality. This makes it a key hub in Asia for global enterprises and cloud companies looking to host their AI workloads.

Singtel's expansion continues after this, as the company is actively developing two other state-of-the-art data centre projects in Thailand and Indonesia, pushing its total pipeline capacity beyond 200 MW. A recent $535 million green loan secured by Singtel reflects the company's dedication to environmentally friendly initiatives in its operational capacity.

In addition, Singtel is seeking to scale up its regional data centre business, and leading global investment firm KKR’s commitment in September to invest up to $1.1 billion for a 20% stake in the business will support its expansion plans.

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This next generation of data centres will feature advanced cooling solutions like direct-to-chip liquid and immersive cooling, preventing overheating and safeguarding expensive GPUs from damage. Real-time server monitoring platforms will further ensure seamless management of GPU clusters, which are vital for running multiple connected networks.

These AI DCs will be seamlessly integrated into Singtel's fixed and 5G mobile networks through its patented Paragon platform, providing a high-bandwidth, low-latency environment. This integration enables smart devices like robotics and autonomous systems to connect to the AI clusters within these data centres, facilitating a range of industry use cases.

CEO Chang adds: “Within these AI DCs, we will offer a host of core services including cloud co-location services, managed hosting services and value-added GPU-as-a-Service (GPUaaS). We see growing demand from both enterprises and cloud companies to leverage our GPU cluster to complement their environments with greater agility in these AI DCs as well.”

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Singtel's GPUaaS, introduced in 2021 at the 5G@Sentosa testbed, has already showcased its potential in collaboration with GovTech and government agencies. According to Singtel, this service, combined with the telco’s leadership in data centres, fixed, and 5G networks, provides enterprises with the means to accelerate AI development without significant capital expenditures.

As at 3.10 pm, Singtel’s shares are trading one cent higher or 0.44% up at $2.29.

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