Wednesday, April 16, 2014

24 December 2013

Facebook Asia is reportedly conducting a review to build its Asia Internet Data Center, or IDC, to accommodate its rapidly-increasing number of Asian users.  

According to industry sources on December 23, an official from Facebook’s head office in the US visited Korea during the second week of the month, surveying local cities such as Busan.

An official in the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) said, “Facebook is visiting some key locations around Asia including Korea, and is looking for a suitable place to build its data center.” Then he added, “The decision has not been made yet, but review is underway.” 

Facebook has data centers located in Oregon and North Carolina in the US and in Northern Europe’s Lulea, Sweden. Facebook wants to build a data center in Asia because Asian Facebook users, including those from Korea, have been rapidly increasing. In June this year Facebook disclosed that there are 11 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) in Korea, up 1 million users compared to September of last year.  Korea’s Daily Active Users, or DAU, are 6.8 million, of which 90 percent are mobile users. Active users mean actual users who regularly participate in Facebook.

Korea is not yet home to the data center of a global company.  Korea’s Internet users have generally relied on domestic companies’ networks to use SNS and other search functions. But over the past several years, Google and Facebook users have been increasing rapidly, and the need for a data center has surfaced. 
In 2011, Google considered building its Asia data center in Korea, but chose Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan instead at the last minute. It later withdrew from Singapore because of a lack of adequate real estate space to build the facility.

An official of the MSIP said that if a foreign company such as Facebook wants to build a data center in Korea, it would have to register a business certificate in Korea and would have to follow rules governing private information and electronic commerce under the guidance of the Korean government.

There are also other concerns surrounding building a data center in Korea. Data centers consist of server, storage, and network equipment that consume a lot of power to both run and cool off, making Korea, which struggles with a shortage of power, an unlikely candidate for its site. Last September the New York Times reported that data centers in the US had been a major cause of power shortages and pollution.  Also, according to foreign reports, data centers are designed and built to operate at maximum power with little attention given to monitoring power usage demands, and nearly 90 percent of the energy consumed ends up wasted as a result.

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