Macquarie Data Centres has “topped out” an $85 million facility in Sydney, its third asset there, as the sector rides a wave of increased demand for information storage, spurred on during the pandemic disruption.
While the structural build was completed this week, the facility, at Macquarie Park, known as Intellicentre 3 East or IC3E, will be fully kitted out by the end of the year.
The three data centres at Macquarie Park will have a total capacity of 43 megawatts and when the campus is completed, Macquarie, the data centres business of ASX-listed Macquarie Telecom Group, will have invested close to $500 million.
Another data centre is nearing completion at Macquarie’s Canberra campus, which will hold two facilities.
David Hirst, Macquarie Data Centres group executive, said the pandemic disruption had both accelerated existing demand and created new demand, such as rapid take-up of video-conferencing for both work and with friends.
“There are more people on more video than there has ever been before,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
Such uptake added to broader trends already driving demand for data storage, including the “journey to the cloud”, as more companies shifted their operations online, the internet of things, as well as e-commerce and the automation of supply chains.
“COVID has obviously put us in an environment where those things have been accelerated. Those trends are here to stay for many years to come,” Mr Hirst said.
“All that data has to be stored, analysed, computed. It lives in clouds. Clouds live in data centres.”
Macquarie’s IC3 facility is designed to meet the needs of global companies, particularly hyperscalers and Software-as-a-Service providers, he said.
“Consumer expectations for high-quality digital experiences are on the rise and have been accelerated by COVID,” he said.
“Global SaaS companies, like the Netflix and Zooms of the world, need local data centres in region to help deliver on these expectations and ensure quality customer service.”
Macquarie’s initiatives come as a boom sweeps across the data centre sector. This week ASX-listed operator NextDC struck a $1.5 billion bank debt deal that will allow it to power up its development pipeline, including major projects in Sydney and Melbourne
Other players are taking major strides. AirTrunk, now majority-owned by the unrelated Macquarie Group’s infrastructure arm, is moving ahead with a huge data centre campus east of Tokyo.
Another big player in the local market is Nasdaq-listed Equinix, which has 17 facilities in Australia, including two in Perth which are reaping the benefit of direct connection to Singapore through sub-sea cables.
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