As part of our multi-pronged expansion plans in the Asia Pacific, Princeton Digital Group (PDG) in 2019 acquired the former DCSG data center in Singapore. Located in Ang Mo Kio, the compound has a storied history as a factory for a large multinational technology firm before its initial sale and conversion into a data center designed for modular infrastructure.
After conducting a thorough evaluation that looked at factors such as the current state of technology and market demand, PDG determined that the best use of the PDG SG1 data center was to convert its substantial unutilized capacity into white space with raised floors for hyperscale customers. Existing modular deployments would be maintained and operated in tandem for a hybrid environment.
Pivoting to meet evolving market demands
We rapidly assembled a dedicated, multidisciplinary team consisting of sales, business strategy, operations, engineering, and security expertise to overhaul the business direction and transform the facility. Existing clients had to be well taken care of and all services must stay fully available throughout the entire process. Achieving this called for the smooth integration of the dedicated task force with the operations team – transferred as part of the acquisition – for their expert know-how of the current infrastructure and data center modules.
The team worked together to ensure that their in-depth expertise and knowledge of the modular systems were properly disseminated. The combined team then conducted tabletop response exercises and modified standard operating procedures (SOP) accordingly. Maintenance schedules were also revised with the inputs of vendors to facilitate the overhaul. Despite the size of the team, open communication between team members ensured that work proceeded smoothly.
Transparency with clients was a core consideration, and a dedicated customer success team was established to serve and meet their needs. By maintaining two-way communication, we could understand and act upon feedback the moment they were raised, acting quickly on concerns by putting in more soundproofing or additional dust absorption. Aside from keeping clients kept happy, the team maintained a service level agreement (SLA) of 100% through the entire 12 months, including before and after the transition.
Another key step entails the restructuring and retraining of the current operations team to ensure that everyone was familiar with the whitespace SOPs. Expertise was established around subject matter experts in areas such as critical facility management and networking. This cross-function demarcation effectively created sub-teams with a deep specialization around key operation areas, strengthening the capabilities of the team.
To keep the hybrid environment running flawlessly, nothing was left to chance. To further improve matters, the best maintenance practices across both modular and whitespace environments were identified and adapted ahead of time. Gaps in expertise were filled as they were identified, and a new operations framework were designed ahead of time for the hybrid facility.
As new members were recruited to fill up the new team structure, older members ensured that relevant knowledge is shared with the newcomers. This pushing of boundaries and the willingness of team members to go beyond individual responsibilities ensured operational excellence in the management of the hybrid space in the long run.
Maintaining operational excellence through a pandemic
Though the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, the team was able to adapt to the fluid health situation and rapidly evolving government regulations. With the BCP plan in place, the team overcame various hurdles by making quick changes to the operational and construction plan despite the “circuit breaker” lockdown in April 2020.
Beyond the restrictions that apply to the data center, the operations and project team were segregated to comply with restrictions – yet work together on the ongoing transformation and meet business transformation milestones. To minimize infection risks, a split team arrangement was used early on; those on site for a particular week served as the “eyes, hands, and legs” for personnel working from home.
Security guards were also trained to ensure that safe management practices were properly implemented and adhered to. Briefings and rehearsals were also conducted to ensure that guards were equipped to deal with pandemic-related situations, including visitors not following safe management guidelines, crowd management, and segregation practices.
Stepping into the future
Despite the unexpected construction and operational challenges from the pandemic, the transformation of PDG SG1 was successfully completed in June 2020. The new white space was ready for service, and the refreshed and trained operations team promptly took up the reins to continue delivering PDG’s trademark global standards to every client within the hybrid environment.
At PDG, we have a vision of building greener data centers based on the four pillars of certifications, energy efficiency, renewables, and advanced technology. By using proven and validated strategies, the latest energy-efficient technologies, and continuous programs, we are always doing more to increase our efficiency.
Finally, a presence across Asia in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore give us the opportunity to leverage various country-specific opportunities. For instance, China is a leading producer of renewable energy, while more than 20% of the total utility electricity in India is from green sources.
Princeton Digital Group (PDG) is a leading investor, developer, and operator of Internet infrastructure. Headquartered in Singapore with presence and operations in China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, and Japan, its portfolio of data centers powers the expansion of hyperscalers and enterprises in the fastest-growing digital economies across Asia. For more information, visit www.princetondg.com.