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A Cloud Service Hub for the Asia-Pacific Region: NCHC Internet Data Center Breaks Ground, Expected Completion in 2025

In line with the Executive Yuan's forward-looking infrastructure plan to promote digital construction and build the cornerstone for a smart nation, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is laying out plans for advanced network construction. Through the integration and optimization of a cloud network foundation and the upgrade of national networking channels, it is expected that Taiwan will become an international information and communications hub and develop into an important point of interconnection for cloud services in the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of these plans, NARLabs' National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) is responsible for the construction of the NCHC Internet Data Center (NCHC IDC1). A groundbreaking ceremony for the new center was held on March 27 and was presided over by NARLabs President Faa-Jeng Lin. After the center's expected opening in 2025, NSTC will significantly upgrade the overall service capacity of its server rooms to attract cooperation with international submarine cable operators and domestic network and cloud service providers with its convenient, efficient, multi-selective, backup-ready, and resilient cloud and network environment. The center will also cooperate with various government agencies to collectively build Taiwan into a decentralized high-speed network exchange and network cable hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

NARLabs President Faa-Jeng Lin stated that Taiwan's location is advantageous as a hub for data transmission among regions, whether it be from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia, or for the Asia-U.S. submarine cable network. The NCHC IDC, which will be located in Tainan, will make its foundation on Taiwan's backbone network and the Formosa Open eXchange (FOX). NCHC aims to expand international submarine cable exchange capacity, which will facilitate the exchange and integration of 5G network information and realize the government's plans to develop a digital nation and the innovation economy.

Tainan City Mayor Wei-che Huang stated that the NCHC IDC will be located in NSTC's Southern Taiwan Science Park, and NCHC is expected to invest NT$620 million in its construction, which will feature a high-performance five-story green building to save energy and reduce emissions. It is expected to become a model for green architecture in Tainan and a new landmark in the Southern Taiwan Science Park, and will promote the quality of Tainan's Internet, the Internet of Things, and Tainan's development as a smart city.

The NCHC IDC building is designed to meet the standards of a U.S. Telecommunications Industry Association Rated-32 structure, and also takes into account the unique characteristics of high-performance computing (HPC) equipment by featuring a special air conditioning system. The building is also designed to optimize energy efficiency by incorporating AI technology, with a PUE of 1.33 as its target. It is expected that when the NCHC IDC is opened, it will provide 800 cabinets of space to serve international submarine cable operators and 5G network and cloud service providers. The NCHC IDC will also provide a variety of domestic internet services through the interconnection of fiber-optic networks and equipment of domestic network and cable operators.

1 With the increasing volume of digital data, it would be a heavy burden for enterprises to set up their own network equipment and server rooms. Enterprises can therefore utilize the IDC, set up by high-performance computing specialists, to access and manage digital data.

2 The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) of the United States classifies its data center certifications into four levels, Rated-1 through Rated-4, based on stringent standards covering four major components: telecommunications design, building design, electrical design, and mechanical systems, with more than 2,000 standards and specifications. A Rated-3 classification indicates a reliability of 99.982%, which means only 1.6 hours of downtime is allowed per year.

3 PUE, or power usage effectiveness, is the standard for energy efficiency in data centers. Its calculation is based on the ratio of the total electricity consumption of the data center to the electricity supplied to the computing equipment. An ideal value is 1.0, which means that all the supplied electricity is used for computing, but in reality, a lot of electricity in the data center must be used for cooling. Therefore, a lower PUE value indicates less electricity is used for cooling.