In a busy, fast-growing market, where demand is high and time is precious, it’s easy to overlook the importance of training; of keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and technology. That’s especially true for the data center market in Asia-Pacific, the world’s fastest growing region. Indeed, across Asia-Pacific, there’s scarcely a national market outside North Korea where demand could not be described as robust.
Nevertheless, Ian Waldock, Director – Data Centers (Asia Pacific) at Swiss manufacturer Georg Fischer, regards taking time out for training on the latest data center cooling technologies as essential for keeping on top of a challenging job.
“I initially signed up to a couple of DCPro "Cooling Pro courses", one was classroom based, and a couple were online,” says Waldock.
“The courses were based on data center cooling, mission-critical facilities engineering and even on data center health and safety. I’ve worked for Georg Fischer for a while now, but have only really been involved in data centers for the past three years. It’s an ever-evolving industry and there’s always much to learn, in fact there is something new to learn every day. The course was very informative, and well-presented by excellent coaches.”
GF Piping Systems is one of the three divisions within GF Corporation and a market leader in maintenance-free, more sustainable and long-lasting piping systems made of plastics. The division supports customers in data centers, building technology, utility, marine, microelectronics, water treatment and many more, with a presence in more than 100 countries across the world.
But it is within data centers that Waldock is primarily interested. “We learnt a great deal about what goes into a data center outside of what we specialise in, chillers, CRAC units, and air-cooled systems, which are things we don't always have a lot of exposure to at GF Piping Systems but I found the content surrounding these key components within data centers very interesting,” he says.
“The DCPro courses have given me more knowledge about everything that goes into a data center around cooling. So when you’re talking to someone in the industry about, say, chillers, you have a better understanding about how the racks are cooled or how air travels through the data halls,” he adds. “The courses were really detailed and informative but also easy to follow, the coaches laid everything out and presented the subjects really well.”
Waldock has come a long way in just five years – from an area sales manager delivering offsite prefabrication projects into London to director in charge of Georg Fischer’s Asia-Pacific business – and staying on top means keeping abreast of all the industry’s latest business and technology trends.
GF Piping Systems have been delivering data center projects acrosss Europe, Americas and now Asia-Pacific region, the biggest trend, he believes, is the way in which sustainability has become embedded in the industry.
“I would say that all of the biggest hyperscale companies would be tasked with finding more efficient ways than taking water or power from a local network or grid. They’ve got to generate it sustainably themselves. I've had experience of working on a data center in Denmark where they would use the waste heat recovery from the Data Center and supply the local district heating system.
“The footprint of data centers has, historically, been quite significant, but zero-carbon emissions has rapidly become a huge topic within the industry and will continue to be over the next few years. At Georg Fischer, we are already talking to experts within the industry about how they’re going to achieve that, we can talk confidently about how we produce our products and solutions and how the CO2 footprint created can be significantly reduced,” says Waldock.
Furthermore, GF Piping Systems, like many suppliers to the rapidly growing data center sector, struggle to recruit staff fast enough, but everyone coming on board in Singapore on Waldock’s watch can expect to be brought up-to-speed with initial and further training from the likes of DCPro.
“I am looking to recruit all over Asia Pacific and I’ll be looking for the best possible way to get my team up to speed, the right courses and education are key to this, no one can be expected to know everything.
“The data center sector is an evolving and exciting market, although it can be a little bit secretive at times. I firmly believe that with relationships between companies like Georg Fischer and DCPro that the knowledge and information shared can be beneficial to both parties. We can learn a lot from each other. I know from some of the courses I have participated in that the coaches themselves were really interested in what we were trying to deliver within the sector. I believe that this kind of shared information can be valuable to all.”
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