Sri Lanka should target $ 5 b digital economy - ICTA Chief | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka should target $ 5 b digital economy - ICTA Chief

7 November, 2021

The Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) will extend its fullest support to promote investments in technological development, a driver of economic growth, said ICTA Chairman Oshada Senanayake at the launch of the first carrier neutral, high density data centre at Orion City IT Park last week.

“The ICTA and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) will facilitate such investments and initiatives through policy measures which both institutions will propose to strengthen the infrastructure for technological growth,” Senanayake said.

The head of the apex ICT body of the government said Sri Lanka has a stern and strong submarine cable but does not have legislation to protect it. He said Sri Lanka has been targeting a USD 5 billion digital economy for the past five to six years but is yet to reach that mark. It’s time that the industry starts hitting that number for which we need to move from being  service oriented to creating indigenous products with Unicorn companies.

Senanayake said the launch of Sri Lanka’s first carrier-neutral data centre is part of an interesting paradigm shift that is already underway.

It is great to see entrepreneurs stepping into this vital space and taking up the challenge of establishing the vital infrastructure necessary for Sri Lanka to unleash its true potential.

“We have continuously and aggressively invested in the next generation of technologies, and today, many of the essential components – including seven submarine cables that connect us to the rest of the world - are now in place for Sri Lanka to become one of the region’s most attractive destinations for data hosting.

“However, we cannot afford to be complacent. Other SAARC countries too are making bold advancements and we cannot afford to fall behind,” he said.   

In a major step forward in Sri Lanka’s rapid transformation towards becoming a South Asian hub for IT and tech-enabled services, Digital Reality (Pvt) Ltd. launched the country’s first carrier-neutral, high-density data center built to TIATier-3 standards and a capacity over 200 racks at Orion City IT Park, Colombo  under the brand name OrionStellar.

The newly launched high density data center is designed to offer world-class services to support the rapidly escalating demand for computing power in an increasingly digital Sri Lankan economy. It promises the highest energy efficiency and power density up to 15 kW per rack with a total power capacity of 1.5 MW.

“The launch of Sri Lanka’s first, and most power efficient high density data center and the impressive capabilities it offers represents a milestone in the development of the island’s IT infrastructure.

“It is also a momentous step in our mission to radically simplify digital infrastructure challenges for local and regional enterprises, and drastically improve the speed at which they conduct their business,” Digital Realty Chairman, Rajendra Theagarajah said.

“Sri Lanka enjoys several uniquely valuable natural and cultivated advantages which make it an ideal option for safely and reliably storing data at scale. Geographically, we are situated just offshore of one of the largest emerging IT economies and in close proximity to key markets in Asia,” Orion City Founder Director and Digital Realty, Managing Director, Jeevan Gnanam said.

“Our nation also possesses outstanding IT talent and adopts one of the most proactive stances in the region with IT and connected infrastructure. With our DC now online, we will be able to provide clients with best-in-class, globally competitive services to accelerate their digitalisation journeys, rationalise core infrastructure costs, and establish stronger levels of security and redundancy, all while reducing energy costs and contributing towards a green and prosperous economy,”Gnanam said.

The centre features a power infrastructure with 2(N+1) UPS systems with 30 minutes battery backup up time, and an N+1 generator system supported with 72-hour fuel bulk tanks ensuring reliable and uninterrupted power supply.

Notably, the facility was also designed with a focus on environmental sustainability. As a result, OrionStellar guarantees the best power usage efficiency (PUE) with a design PUE of 1.4. This will translate to power savings for clients migrating their IT loads to OrionStellar. The facility also features an unloading bay ready to receive customer inventory for hosting and a staging area to test equipment prior to entering the data hall.

OrionStellar will support the rapidly escalating demand for computing power in an increasingly digital Sri Lankan economy and the region at large, with an emphasis on providing cost-effective data offshoring services for regional enterprise powerhouses.

The long-term business purpose is to “simplify enterprise digital infrastructure challenges to accelerate digitalisation and growth,” according to COO of OrionStellar, Nalaka W. Bandara, a specialist in enterprise communication solutions and data centre business.