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New Eco-Aware Data Center in Mauritius

Mauritius Develops Sea Water Air Conditioning to Create ‘World First’ Eco-Aware Data Center

Mauritius & SW Indian Ocean on Ulitzer

Mauritius may soon emerge as the next ecologically aware data center of choice for companies from the United States to Australia, due to its progressive approach to technological investment and overall national stability. Using an innovative Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) system pumping cool jets of ocean water from nearly 2000 meters down, this Indian Ocean island nation offers appealing corporate taxation and investment opportunities and boasts geo-political stability making it an attractive option for disaster recovery and business continuity planning.

Mauritius is building a 102 hectare eco-park drawing in sea water as an extremely sustainable natural resource to target the main cost issue in all modern data centres, namely power. Power to drive daily operations and, most crucially of all, to cool the countless racks of servers which typically dissipate their heat out to ‘exchanges'. Sustainable data resources are of little value if the rest of the world is not able to connect to them, so Mauritius is also now increasing its broadband connectivity to several under-sea cables.

As the country tries to position itself credibly in the international eco-aware data center niche, it is hosting a series of IT conferences in its CyberCity business zone. The skyscrapers are going up fast and the Mauritian Board of Investment says that three initial data centres are already running. The new SWAC water-cooled system though will shadow any of the existing installations currently serving customers from all around the world.

"Four years ago we made a conscious decision to focus on services - and yes of course that includes web services. So with the right building blocks in place, we can move forward more quickly than if we had adopted a more transient model. We are confident that we will leapfrog in some areas; technology and our general approach will allow us to do that. For example, an individual professional worker or indeed a business can get registered for a Mauritius work permit within just three-days," said Mr Raju Jaddoo, managing director, Mauritius Board of Investment.

"These developments go beyond palm trees and our picturesque surrounds, although of course they provide us with nice ‘décor' I suppose before you get down to the guts of what we are able to do technologically. This is not a sunny place for shady people and this is not a tax haven. You know, some people in the USA still confuse Mauritius with Mauritania. I am here to change that perception globally and I believe our IT investment will enable this," added Jaddoo.

With many technology companies now analyzing the ‘green-factor' in their future plans for data management, the sustainability element and the carbon footprint of data itself is become more prevalent in companies' forward-looking IT plans. New media rich in video, ecommerce, video conferencing and online shopping are some of the major contributing factors here. Estimates gauge that for every single Google search made that somewhere in the world a total of 7000 servers are engaged.

All these developments are leading to greater awareness of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of data centers. This is essentially a metric used to measure the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE itself is calculated by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the IT infrastructure that it houses. This means that PUE is always expressed as a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward 1.

Alongside the Mauritius data center conference a sister business process outsourcing (BPO) meeting will also be run. Rumors at the event itself suggest that the country is definitely not trying to position itself as just another India, or even an extension to the subcontinent's established reputation for BPO.

This could well be a good time for Mauritius to align itself in this space as analysts are suggesting that a market shake up is on the way. According to Gartner, one-quarter of the top business process outsourcing operatives will not exist by 2012. Gartner said that market exit, acquisitions and the ascent of new vendors will rearrange the BPO provider landscape in the coming years and businesses should look for warning signs when evaluating BPO vendors to mitigate risk.

"As providers are exposed to the economic crisis, loss-making contracts, and an inability to adapt to standardised delivery models, many will struggle to survive in their current form," said Robert H. Brown, research vice president at Gartner. "Some will be acquired and some will exit the market completely to be replaced by dynamic new players delivering BPO as automated, utility services."

So as Mauritius enlists foreign consultancy expertise and draws upon its own not insubstantial technology workforce, the country appears to be taking a considered yet quietly self-confident approach to its new IT infrastructure. Well served by international air links via Paris, France for US travelers from Washington Dulles. The country also enjoys the benefit of services from Virgin, Air France and Emirates Airlines mainly due to its existing reputation as an island paradise for honeymooners. It may be about to take the next step in its economic development and provide a massively ecologically-aware boost to the planet's data cloud. With all those sunny skies, some kind of cloud cover had to develop at some point didn't it?

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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