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There's a boom in data centres moving to regional Australia – and it's creating new digital business opportunities

Steph Panecasio

This article is sponsored by Schneider Electric, helping mitigate risk within data centres. »

  • Data centres are centralised locations packed with servers, to collect and store data.

  • NSW government pledged $100 million to the development of regional data centres.

  • A new Tier 3 data centre in Townsville will be built to withstand a Category 5 Cyclone rating.

  • It uses Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure technology for energy and data centre management.

The digital landscape in Australia is growing exponentially year-on-year, and with increased reliance on connectivity it's becoming harder for companies to house their data effectively.

As these businesses outgrow the existing facilities located in capital cities, there's a push for regional Australia to be the foundation for data centres, suggesting a digital future for information and communication technology (ICT) in the bush.

Data centres themselves are centralised locations packed with servers, wherein large amounts of computing equipment and general ICT are housed in an attempt to collect, store and analyse data.

Expanding towards regional Australia for the development of new data centres makes sense, given that most city-based providers of technology are competing for the same space.

In fact, according to a Tech Research Asia report, it’s the logical solution to a problem that has garnered state government attention.

Earlier this year, the NSW government pledged $100 million to the development of regional data centres in an effort to increase internet connectivity, as part of a $400 million regional digital connectivity package.

This is in no small part due to the fact that the projected value of those regional centres is expected to improve the infrastructure, internet speed and general connectivity of the regional Australian towns playing host to them.

The report states that, "while many will immediately think about cloud computing services or capital city-based colocation data centres, there are valid reasons for opting for, or at the very least evaluating, a regional data centre facility as part of this evolution."

Colocation facilities are data centres that offer shared spaces for servers from different companies – allowing more businesses to get in on the physical security of a shared building, but are only allotted a certain amount of space to house servers and technology.

As such, larger companies with greater data requirements may have no choice but to consider a standalone data centre for their technology needs, and with spacing restrictions, that often means looking regionally.

This year, a new iseek data centre (built to a Category 5 Cyclone rating) is expected to provide a stable, secure environment for critical infrastructure for local and state government, government agencies, enterprises and local businesses operating in North Queensland.

According to Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Tier III refers to a centre that "has multiple paths for power and cooling and systems in place to update and maintain it without taking it offline."

This means the complexity of the centre's infrastructure is on the higher end, and given that far north Queensland is prone to flooding and cyclonic weather, housing the data centre in Townsville was both the safest and most regionally beneficial.

The centre also leverages Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure technology, a data analysis system that measures and manages the output of electricity and energy in real time.

According to iseek founder and chief executive Jason Gomersall, “To ensure we deliver essential services in the most severe weather events, our partnership with Schneider Electric was absolutely essential to ensure power and cooling under all conditions."

This boom in regional data storage will likely see the demand for ICT professionals increase in these areas.