Google building a new data center in Taiwan

Google earlier this week announced the building of its first data center in Taiwan, the search giant's third in the Asian region.

Google earlier this week announced that it is building a data center in Taiwan, to be located on a 15-hectare site on the west coast of Taiwan in Changhua Country. This will be the search giant's third data center in the region after Hong Kong and Singapore, and joins six such facilities in the United States and two in Europe.

The move by Google to establish new data centers in Asia reflects the growing number of Internet users in this region, which recently tipped past half a billion in China alone. Google is the number two search engine in the country, behind Chinese search engine Baidu.

"More new Internet users are coming online everyday here in Asia than anywhere else in the world," says Daniel Alegre, Google's Asian-Pacific president in a prepared statement. "They are looking for information and entertainment, new business opportunities and better ways to connect with friends and family."

With the goal of bringing the facility online by the second half of 2013, Google expects long-term investment in this facility to exceed US$300 million, or more than US$700 million for the trio of data centers in the region. The former figure includes the cost of land, construction and technical equipment.

As with its other data centers, Google says it is custom designing each element of its Taiwan facility with the local environment in mind. Lee-Feng Chien, Managing Director, Google Taiwan, observed that the new data center taps on existing Google knowhow to use 50 percent less energy than typical facilities.

Indeed, the new Google data center in Taiwan is being touted as the most efficient and environmentally friendly in Asia, and will utilize a "nighttime cooling and thermal energy storage" for greater energy efficiency. The technology is relatively easy to understand: a reservoir of coolant - usually water - is cooled using conventional chillers at night when power costs are lower. This is subsequently circulated around a facility during the day for cooling.

While the use of thermal energy storage by itself is neither revolutionary nor new, this is the first time that Google is implementing it in its data center. This is especially pertinent in Taiwan when power becomes more expensive to produce during summer months.

As reported by the Taipei Times, Google's local suppliers include Quanta Computer Inc. and Nanya Technology Corp., who will supply servers and memory chips respectively. Google expects to hire 25 full-time staff members for its new data center, and will also engage the services of a number of part-time and full-time contractors.

Additional information about the new facility can be accessed here.