Our First International Data Center Goes Live in Singapore

April 5, 2016

The number of LinkedIn members across Asia Pacific has doubled over the last two years to reach more than 85 million members at the end of 2015. This growth has driven the need to expand and increase our ability to serve our members there. Since member experience and site speed are a priority for us, we knew that our regional PoPs were no longer enough. To meet this need, LinkedIn’s first international data center, located in Singapore, went online in March 2016.

Singapore Data Center

Our data center strategy is to partner with colocation providers to build wholesale data centers. As our member base continues to grow across Asia Pacific, we began to prioritize the region and search for the best location for our first data center on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

LinkedIn has a specific set of criteria to screen potential new data center locations, this includes network diversity, expansion capabilities, power quality, environmental impact, talent opportunities, security, and natural disasters or any other potential risks. Selecting a data center location is imperative to ensure we provide our members with fast, resilient and reliable services. As we explored several locations and colocation providers across the Asia Pacific region, Singapore and Digital Realty continued to rank the highest. In addition, Singapore is the landing point for the trans-pacific fiber which makes the location very desirable for faster transmission speeds.

Our new Singapore data center spans more than 23,000 square feet and has 4.2 megawatts of allocated power. This is roughly the same power allocation we expect when our Oregon data center's first phase comes online later this year. For comparison, Singapore is smaller than our Virginia and Texas data centers. Our Virginia data center uses about 9.6 megawatts and the Texas data center uses about 7.2 megawatts. The smart design features we're implementing in Singapore will reduce the annual energy consumption of the data center by a magnitude that is equivalent to powering about 100 private homes in Singapore a year.

Given the differences in Singapore’s local infrastructure and power standards compared to the US, our team needed to rethink their typical design and specify new equipment. For example, Singapore’s power frequency is 50 hertz, compared to 60 hertz in the US, so we needed to specify compatible equipment. Singapore also has a different way of calculating 3-phase power. The US-base is typically 120/208 volts and Singapore’s is 230/400 volts. For the first time, this enabled the team to install 52U racks, housing four additional servers, instead of the typical 48U racks. This increase in the number of servers enabled the team to better utilize the port capacity on the switch, which is a more efficient cost-to-serve model. This new increased density per cabinet design helped drive the decision to use a 415 volt delivery at the Oregon data center we are building now. With each new data center design, the team strives for innovation, efficiency, and continuous improvement.

Special thanks to Kelly Shea for helping author this post and to the Data Center Services (DCS) team for their ingenuity and extensive time spent traveling to Singapore and collaborating with the local team to make this data center possible.