Blockchain is gaining traction in recent years. Apart from a surge in POC pilots and production-ready projects, blockchain also drives data center demand. Bitcoin mining and other cryptocurrencies, which utilize blockchain technology, are increasingly moving into data centers. They create new opportunities for data center service providers.
Hong Kong-based internet services and managed security services provider Connet is ramping up its efforts to provide an IT platform for blockchain customers. The company will also continue to expand its data center footprint.
Connet has been providing managed network, data center, and security services across Asia Pacific and the US since 1999. The company also runs security operations centers in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shanghai, Beijing, Vietnam, and Los Angeles.
Blockchain drives data center demand
Blockchain is the underlying technology for many cryptocurrencies. Companies dealing with cryptocurrencies and bitcoin mining are the heavy users of blockchain technology.
“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rely on decentralization and distributed IT resources to maintain the integrity of the blockchain,” says Cecil Yuen (pictured right), general manager at Connet (Hong Kong) Ltd in an interview with Computerworld Hong Kong in Hanoi, Vietnam. “A lot of data center resources and managed services are required particularly for bitcoin mining.”
Bitcoin mining activities have been increasingly evolved into large-scale operations, requiring global hosting and data center colocation services. In addition, blockchain-based applications and cryptocurrencies involve running complicated calculations, so their demand for computing power such as GPUs (graphical processing units) and graphic cards is also booming.
Yuen says that apart from network connectivity, server hosting, and managed security services, Connet also helps customers procure GPU and graphic cards.
Connet has been offering blockchain as a payment option for customers in Hong Kong for over two years. Yet, Yuen notes blockchain-based payment is not yet widely adopted due to the volatility of cryptocurrencies.
To provide an extensive service coverage for blockchain and other customers, Connet will continue to expand its data center footprint this year with a plan to partner with a telco in Australia to offer data center services. The company’s data center services currently cover Greater China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the US.
Vietnam: secondary data center location
Besides blockchain customers, Connet also sees a growing number of companies adopting multi-data center strategy. More companies have at least one primary data center and a secondary backup center. Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore have clearly stood out as the primary data center location in Asia.
“With faster and stable interconnections all over the world, Hong Kong is still a strategic data center location in Asia,” says Yuen. “On the contrary, in many South East Asia countries like Vietnam, high latency is still a concern.”
He adds, “There’s still room for improvement for Vietnam to meet the demands of ultra-high bandwidth customers such as gaming, video surveillance, and video streaming companies.”
In recent years, Vietnam and other South East Asia such as the Philippines, and Malaysia are gaining popularity as a destination for secondary data center.
“Vietnam faces fewer natural disasters and political conflicts such as terrorism. This makes it a better environment for data center sites,” says Tony Vu (pictured left), head of business development at Connet Vietnam.
Connet has three data centers in Vietnam, where two of them are located in Hanoi and Ho Chih Minh City. They are government-owned sites operating by telcos including Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and Viettel Group.
Customer cases in Vietnam
According to Vu, 80% of Connet customers in Vietnam are international companies, spanning hotel, food and beverage (F&B), and manufacturing sectors.
FTS Services Co Ltd is an IT services provider in Vietnam targeting mainly the F&B sector. Its major international customers in this sector include McDonald’s. FTS Services adopted Connet’s dynamic secure VPN service to provide secured connectivity across McDonalds’s stores, as well as from the fast food company’s stores to its data center.
“We expedite our support to our customers by reducing the turnaround time by 50%,” says Nguyen Tung Lam. “Our engineers can stay in our office to monitor customer devices without going to customer sites for trouble shooting and reconfiguration.”
Apart from McDonald’s, FTS Services has also deployed Connet’s secure VPN service at 20 stores of homegrown coffee shop Cong Caphe in Vietnam.
LIT VN Co Ltd focuses on providing cloud virtual private server hosting service to local and international customers in Vietnam. High latency from Vietnam to other countries had been a challenge to the company for years. The company chose Connet’s connectivity and hosted server services to reduce network latency.
“Connet provides policy routing based on customer destinations, enabling us to route network traffic to Connet’s data center in Hong Kong before going to international routes,” says Jeff Luong, CEO of LIT VN Co. “Latency is reduced a lot after using Connet services. Also, their service cost is relatively lower than international telcos.”