Data centre rental rates are rising in APAC

And Singapore among those leading the way in terms of cost.

Data centre rental rates are rising in APAC
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Fré Sonneveld

Data centre rental rates are increasing in the Asia Pacific due to strong demand and rising costs.

According to CBRE, Singapore has one of the highest data centre rental rates, exceeding US$330 per kW monthly.

  • For reference, the Nvidia DGX H100 server with 8x GPUs consumes up to 10.2 kW/h.
  • With active rear door (liquid) cooling to cram in four of these 8U AI powerhouses in one rack, that's at least US$13,500 per month in power alone.

Yes, AI is pricey.

Rising costs

The rental rate increases of data centres here are driven by:

  • Strong demand.
  • Rising construction costs.
  • Increasing operational costs.

And this is despite a "relatively large amount" of new data centre inventory, says CBRE.

FWIW, Singapore's Green Data Centre Roadmap didn't talk about courting large-scale AI deployments, but instead alludes to capturing strategic opportunities.

New capacity elsewhere

To secure new data centre capacity, investors are turning to emerging markets in the Asia Pacific:

  • Mumbai (India).
  • Seoul (South Korea).

When it comes to AI workloads, where cost-effective power sources are significantly more important, they are going to:

  • Tokyo (Japan).
  • Sydney (Australia).

Overall, CBRE says the APAC region’s capacity pipeline remains strong, with numerous developments currently under construction.

Non-AI workloads add up

We often paint a picture of AI guzzling up all our energy resources. And it's true - AI build-ups are delaying the retirement of some coal plants and triggering the expansion of fossil power plants.

Yet even non-AI workloads are projected to increase sharply; they continue to make up the lion's share of power consumption in data centres - this was clear from a slide presented by DCI Data Center's Swati Goyal at "Decarbonising digital infrastructure" two weeks back.

So yes, I feel we need to focus more effort towards incorporating sustainability into new data centres in general, and incentivising existing data centres to upgrade inefficient systems.

Finally, will customers move out of Singapore data centres due to cost? I personally doubt it. What do you think?

Read the CBRE's report here.