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Sri Lanka’s first carrier-neutral and high-density data center launches at Orion City IT Park

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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. Last week launched the country’s first carrier-neutral, high-density data center built to TIA Tier-3 standards and a capacity over 200 racks at Orion City IT Park, Colombo 09 under the brand name OrionStellar.

The launch event featured Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) Chairman, and Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) Director General, Oshada Senanayake as Chief Guest, in addition to attracting enthusiastic participation from numerous high-ranking representatives from Sri Lanka’s burgeoning IT, telco, and corporate sectors, as well as academia and key Government officials, a news release on the event said.

Addressing the gathering, Senanayake said: “Today’s launch of Sri Lanka’s first carrier-neutral data centre is part of an interesting paradigm shift that is already underway. So 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. Particularly in the context of unprecedented volatility, technology has been a key enabler in Sri Lanka’s ambitious transformation towards a US$ 3 billion digital economy

“We have continuously and aggressively invested in the next generation of technologies, and today, many of the essential components – including 7 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. This in addition to digitizing Sri Lanka’s public and private sector. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. Other SAARC countries too are making bold advancements and we cannot afford to fall behind.

“We see immense growth potential for Sri Lanka through the embedding of artificial intelligence and machine learning into public and private sector operations. Together with the robust 5G capabilities that are being set in place today, we believe that Sri Lanka will be able to unleash hyper-growth. Today’s launch of a truly globally competitive data centre is a vitally important advancement in this direction,”

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 historic 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 digitalization journeys, rationalize 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 added.

Built in compliance with the latest ISO 27001 standards and global data center standards (TIA-942 Rated 3), the new data center will deliver the highest levels of reliability, efficiency, and redundancy with 99.98% uptime. The center features 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 an unmatched focus on environmental sustainability enabled by an in-row cooling system with best-in-class efficiency ratings. As a result, OrionStellar guarantees the best power usage efficiency (PUE) with a design PUE of 1.4. This will translate to power savings up to 40% 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 is poised to offer an array of digital infrastructure solutions and value-added managed services to enterprises. It will support the rapidly escalating demand for computing power in an increasingly digital Sri Lankan economy and the region at large, with a special emphasis on providing highly cost-effective data offshoring services for regional enterprise powerhouses.

The long-term business purpose is to “simplify enterprise digital infrastructure challenges to accelerate digitalization and growth” according to COO of OrionStellar, Nalaka W. Bandara, a specialist in enterprise communication solutions and data center businesses with over 20 years of collective experience.

OrionStellar colocation solutions have been designed to meet the needs of different business segments with varying requirements. The facility has already designated white labeled space for telcos and larger MNCs, featuring dedicated cages with biometric access control for large enterprises. Individual racks with biometric or lockable doors and U level hosting for SME and startup hosting needs are among the product options complemented with “Remote Pair of Hands” service as a value addition.

Notably, each co-location space or rack will be individually monitored, even to U level, for power delivery and consumption to ensure that clients only pay for what they use, enabling cost visibility and control in their digital infrastructure investments.

Further, the OrionStellar data center offers an array of value-added services including storage as a service, back up as a service to secure mission critical enterprise data, disaster recovery solutions during unexpected downtime and cost-effective data center migration services with minimal disruption to core business functions.

Orion Towers at Orion City is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and a full spectrum of services, offering prime workspace solutions ranging from custom-built, office spaces, dedicated seating space, shared seating and BCP Seating. OrionStellar client companies can conveniently co-locate their IT Network Operations Centers (NOCs) closest to the data center with convenient access to banks, shopping centers, recreational facilities, food-courts, and fine-dining restaurants.

“The OrionStellar data center is guaranteed to unleash a new wave of tech-enabled opportunities across the entire spectrum of local enterprises – from SMEs and tech-startups to large corporates and regional MNCs,” Jeevan Gnanam asserted. He further explained that “with the launch of this high-density data center, we aim to establish the most secure and scalable infrastructure to position Sri Lanka as a hub in this digital economy.”



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Business

Sri Lanka Insurance posts a record high GWP achievement of Rs. 43 billion during 2021

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Sri Lanka Insurance, closed the year 2021 with a positive note recording a staggering combined GWP of Rs. 43 billion amidst the turbulent time.

In the year 2021 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 14 % growth in life insurance premium increases to Rs.21.9 billion whilst general insurance reported 5.4% growth in premium, for a total value of Rs. 21.2 billion amidst the stagnant market conditions. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 9.7 % during the year. Life insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst General Insurance contributed 49%.

Marking 60 years of excellence as the protector of the nation, Sri Lanka Insurance recorded many remarkable achievements during the year 2021.

Sri Lanka Insurance yet again declared the highest Life Insurance bonus in the industry of Rs. 8.6 billion. The insurer was able to produce 189 MDRT members with 5 COT and 1 TOT member for the MDRT conference 2021 marking a historic milestone as the highest ever representation from Sri Lanka Insurance.

In the year 2021 Sri Lanka Insurance managed to uphold the leadership position of the General Insurance sector and Motor Insurance sector while introducing multiple innovative motor insurance products that cater to the unique needs of customer segments in the motor insurance market.

Further, Sri Lanka Insurance was recognized with many awards and accolades in the year 2021. The insurer tops the ranking in many aspects in the Brand Finance report on Sri Lanka’s Most Valuable Brands 2021 edition. Sri Lanka Insurance was awarded The Most Loved Insurance Brand of the year and the Most Valuable General Insurance Brand of the year proving its prowess to be awarded these prestigious titles for the 4th consecutive year. Also, SLIC Life recorded the highest brand value growth among the Life Insurance brands in Sri Lanka. SLIC was also recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work” in Sri Lanka in the year 2021, reiterating the insurer’s commitment towards developing and empowering employee relationships at the workplace.

Exploring the avenues to broaden the protection to communities SLIC served different segments, age groups and different affinity groups through product and market development initiatives. SLIC Speed Investment and SLIC Early cash and SLIC Minimuthu life insurance products were relaunched understanding and catering to a new generation of SLIC clientele. “Nagaraja” an exclusive medical insurance cover was also launched as the first product designed in Sri Lanka to provide protection for Buddhist clergy and their family members and “Motor Plus Commercial” was launched with unique features to complement the needs of the commercial vehicle users.

SLIC has been making steady progress in transforming its operational architecture and front end customer interfaces to ensure digital integration. SLIC Mobile App introduced many enhanced features to constantly evolve with the consumer needs and proved to be a significant tool during the pandemic period. The motor claim settlement process has undergone a major reengineering process to facilitate fast-track and contactless claim settlements to customers. SLIC also increased the digital integration with other service providers to expand the number of payment platforms available to customers enhancing the accessibility and switching to contactless mode to ensure health and safety guidelines. The “Work Flow Management System” is transforming all internal manual and paper-based operations to digital-driven systemized operations.

Commenting on the excellence achieved during the year SLIC Chairman Eng. Vijitha Herath noted “The past year has been a testing time which compelled us to embrace changes and respond to challenges. As a State-owned insurer and the pioneer of the insurance industry, we have been contributing to the country’s development since inception and we have aligned our corporate goals with the country’s development goals. We have pledged to safeguard the nation by delivering exceptional insurance service and today we have become an icon of excellence In the industry exploring avenues to expand protection across every corner of the island.

“We continue to bring a sense of protection to millions of Sri Lankans with our stable financial performance and service enhancement. We reiterate the trust garnered through generations as the largest and strongest insurer and we continue adding value to all our stakeholders evolving our self to conquer greater heights.”

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No fee required for Selfies at Port City

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Port City Colombo wishes to inform the public that there is no truth in social media posts alleging that the public needs to pay a fee for personal selfies or videos taken at Port City.

However, a payment structure was introduced for personal events, professional and/or commercial filming and photography due to the unprecedented number of such requests received from the public and private sector to use the newly opened Port City Marina Promenade. It has also been brought to our attention that such filming/photography was a hindrance, and violates the privacy of other visitors to the promenade.

Taking public safety and ongoing construction in to consideration, this payment structure and dedicated time periods were introduced for anyone wishing to engage in such professional filming or photography at Port City to avoid hindrance to the public and provide a better service for those who require it. The Marina Promenade is open to the public from 9am to 6pm daily. Paid filming and photography can be carried out before 9am or other time period as requested.

We wish to emphasize that this is not applicable for those wishing to take personal pictures, videos, and selfies inside Port City using their personal phones or cameras. Also, reputed social or mainstream media stations can freely carry out filming/ photography for news or current affairs (non commercial purposes) inside Port City with prior approval from relevant departments.

Charges will only be applicable for filming/ photography of personal ceremonies, weddings, product or fashion promotions, music videos, advertisements or other types of commercial filming. Income received from these will be used for the maintenance of public spaces, lavatories and garbage clearing done by the Estate Management Company (EMC) which manages the public areas of Port City Colombo.

Areas of Port City such as the Marina, Golf Range, Beach Park and ATV Track are managed by private operators on a paid basis since they started operations.

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Eswaran Brothers – A Board poised for governance and growth

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From left; Executive Chairman, Ganesh Deivanayagam, Non-Executive Chairman Dr. Nalin Jayasuriya and Board Director Aruni Goonetilleke of Eswaran Brothers Tea Exporters

COLOMBO; Top regional financial services expert Aruni Goonetilleke has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Eswaran Brothers, further strengthening an eminent team at the helm of affairs at the company. Eswaran Brothers which has been a leader in the value added tea industry for over sixty years, is at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

The Board of Directors of Eswaran Brothers lead by Non-Executive Chairman and well known corporate strategy expert, Dr. Nalin Jayasuriya, boasts of a power packed team that includes Yudhistran Kanagasabai, Independent Non-Executive Director, Chairman of the Audit Committee of Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC and Chairman, Ambeon Capital PLC , Gabriel D’Arcy, Independent Non-Executive Director, Senior VP at Stratagem Partners – a leading European Corporate Strategy and Brexit Advisory Service Provider and Mr. Hanif Janoo a well-known global Tea industry stalwart from Pakistan and Kenya.

To this stellar team a recent addition was top regional financial services expert Aruni Goonetilleke who joined the board back in June 2021. Aruni Goonetilleke, subsequently appointed as Chairperson of Hatton National Bank PLC, is also a Director at Sunshine Holdings PLC. Further, she holds the position of Non-Executive Director at several other listed companies.

Speaking on her appointment, Ms. Goonetilleke said, “I’m happy to be part of the Board of Eswaran Brothers – one of the leading value-added tea exporting companies in Sri Lanka. At a time when the world navigates many challenges, Eswaran Brothers is embarking on an impressive programme of diversification and growth. I look forward to being a part of the leadership of the company as it steps forward in new directions.”

Ms. Goonetilleke who did her Bachelors in Law at the University of Colombo, completed her Masters in Law at Harvard Law School, USA. She was previously the Head of Corporate Banking at People’s Bank. In her 25-years as a financial services professional she has worked in banks in Sri Lanka and Singapore. She was the Chief Risk Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka and played a key role at the time of the merger of ANZ Grindlays and Standard Chartered Bank in Sri Lanka. She was also the Head of Credit, SME and Commercial Banking and held Global Audit Roles in Wholesale and Retail Banking at Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore.

As one of the premier marketers of Ceylon Tea, Eswaran Brothers works with some of the world’s leading tea brands, helping them meet their customer needs with the supply of high-quality Ceylon Tea. With over six decades of experience, this combination of versatility and customer satisfaction has made Eswaran Brothers Tea the choice source for fine teas and wellness beverages.

“Corporate governance and growth oriented independent directors have been part of the Eswaran Brothers board for nearly a decade. Following the directions set by our Past Chairman, the late Mr. D Eassuwaren, Eswaran Brothers became the first Carbon Neutral Certified tea company in the world and we are now ready to make some big moves as a corporate entity,” said Executive Chairman, Ganesh Deivanayagam. “With Aruni joining the Board, we intend to strengthen our financial oversight to further drive the company’s diversification and consolidation.”

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