GOOGLE Inc, the world’s top Internet search company, plans to invest in the world’s biggest server farm, which could be located in Malaysia, India or Vietnam, sources said.

A server farm is a cluster of server computers, or powerful computers, that store vast amounts of data. The data are shared between people via personal computers over a common network like the Internet.

“It will be very major for Malaysia. The investment could run into a few hundred million ringgit,” said a source.

Winning this investment will be a major coup for any country, not just for the inflow of money but also the profile that the US brand provides.

Yesterday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis told national news agency Bernama in Switzerland that Google had shown interest to invest in Malaysia. He did not say what the plans were.

Jamaluddin is accompanying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is scheduled to meet Google’s chief in Davos during the World Economic Forum.

However, the US company has made some tough demands. These have slowed down the talks, the sources said.

“They want good rates for water and power, among other things,” a source said.

Google declined to comment when contacted.

“We do not comment on rumours or speculation. We have data centre facilities around the world, but do not provide specific locations,” said Dickson Seow, the head of communications and public affairs for Southeast Asia.

Malaysia wants to become a hub for outsourcing services, a better- value alternative to low-cost manufacturing, which is now led by Vietnam.

As for India, it is already a heavyweight in the software and outsourcing industry.

Since last year, Google has been sending teams to the region to look for suitable places for its data centres. The decision is now down to three countries.

In Malaysia, it may ask for an area of more than 100ha. This could be in Negri Sembilan, a source said.

It is believed that the landowner and a few utility companies had a meeting recently to discuss the needs of the project, code-named Neptune.

“It needs uninterrupted power supply and huge broadband capacity, among other things. These must be sorted out,” another source said.

It is believed that state government officials are excited about the potential investment.

Source: New Straits Times

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