We are planning 1,000 edge data centers: Sridhar Pinnapureddy, CtrlS

CtrlS is emerging as the world’s largest hyperscale rated 4 data center with the highest footprint of 6 million sq ft. Sridhar Pinnapureddy, founder and CEO, CtrlS and Cloud4C Services, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

Sridhar PinnapureddyDQI Bureau | dqindia

DQ: What are the trends that are likely to shape the Indian datacentre industry?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: Hybrid IT deployment, including cloud, IoT, AI, edge computing, intelligent monitoring and the impending Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 will play a key role in shaping the Indian data centre industry. Cloud adoption in India, according to me, is still in a very nascent stage.

It will gather momentum leading to higher occupancy of datacentres in the country. IoT deployment in India has surpassed 250 million and will cross a 2 billion in the next two years, witnessing major deployments across manufacturing, healthcare, retail, buildings, utilities, automobiles, transportation among others. This will lead to a surge of data across the connected devices, requiring both compute and storage, as most of the data will be analysed through analytics and leveraged by technologies such as AI/ML.

With rapid penetration of OTT, gaming and e-commerce transactions in the country, the tier-2, tier-3, including some select tier-4 cities, will seek high quality of services. Therefore, the content will have to move to the edge. This will see a rise in edge data centers.

Coming to the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, the passing of the bill will lead to large localisation of data in the country, leading to large co-location and cloud capacity requirements in the country.

DQ: CtrlS is said to be emerging as the world’s largest hyperscale rated-4 data centre. Tell us about it.

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: Yes, while CtrlS is Asia’s largest Rated-4 data centre, we are emerging as the world’s largest Rated-4 hyperscale data centre. We currently own and operated 1 million square feet of datacentre space in the country. All of them are built in the hyperscale format.

We are now planning another 5 million square feet in the country, two million square feet hyperscale facilities each, in Mumbai and Hyderabad, and another 1 million square feet facility in Chennai, to address the growing demands of the country. With these projects, we will be the market leaders in the Indian data centre industry and also as the world’s largest rated-4 hyperscale data centre.

DQ: What is the secret to growth at CtrlS?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: Focus on the employees and customers has been our major thrust. It is my belief that happy employees make happy customers. Today, we serve 60 of the Fortune 500 global multinationals and 108 of ET 500 companies in India, including the world’s largest telecom, manufacturing, e-commerce, financial services, and cloud players. Our focus has been to ensuring both employee and customer delight – both are like the eyes of our organization. This has resulted in CtrlS emerging as Top 100 Great Places to Work.

In fact, our NPS score of 60 reflects that our customers love CtrlS, and we love them too. The nature of the relationship with our customers is not transactional. We help, advise and act as an extended IT arm to our customers – which is why we have 89% our customers with us for over a decade. That speaks volumes about the loyalty and patronage that we enjoy. Our culture is a major differentiator – a culture of trust, fairness, integrity and transparency has helped us establish as the leader in the data center market. We thank both our employees and customers for the trust reposed in us. We will continue to work harder to delight them in future too.

DQ: How are you rebalancing your provision of data center services, co-location and capacity management?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: At CtrlS, innovation has been the bedrock of growth. We have now invested in automation to ensure all the manual processes are automated – be it provisioning, capacity management and customer support. Robotic process automation (RPA) and AI have been key to ensuring that we are able to enhance efficiency,
productivity and plan for the future.

Our fully-owned subsidiary, Big Little Innovation (BLI), which is focused on AI/ML and RPA technologies, is currently working on100+ internal projects to automate across our group companies.

DQ: What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the data center industry?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: This is indeed a very important question. CIOs across industries are doing a commendable job working 14 to 16 hours a day during Covid-19, and they are the true technology heroes during this crisis. Having said that, every business whether they are shut during lockdown or operational have a common need. Keep the infrastructure and applications running and secure the same from external security threats.

Companies such as online groceries, OTT players, online education and those among essential services, have witnessed a rapid growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they have scaled up their IT infrastructure primarily on the cloud to keep up with the growing demand.

Those in manufacturing and non-essential services have optimized their infrastructure, while securing the same. The overall Indian data center industry will continue to witness growth during the pandemic as DCs power both – countries’ data and economy.

DQ: What is the role played as a data center to conserve nature? Are there any green initiatives?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: We care for Mother Earth and we are aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, our Mumbai data centre is the world’s 1st LEED Platinum Certified v4 O+M Datacentre. Our Noida data centre is India’s first and only 100% air pollution free and quake proof facility. Our Bangalore and Hyderabad facilities are LEED Platinum certified. This aside, we have had 80 innovations in energy efficiency, and we have bagged CII’s Energy Efficiency Awards over the last decade.

Coming to the impact our green initiatives, we have eliminated carbon foot print equivalent to 17,134 passengers driven in a year, equivalent to 30 million litres of diesel consumed in a year, besides eliminating 28,148 tons of waste per year. You would be delighted to note that our Mumbai DC-2 data centre facility is the world’s 1st solar-covered rated-4 datacentre in the world. It generates 1 MW of power through solar panels that surround our building.

We are also planning a 200 MW solar plant to support our power consumption in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint. In the future, we plan to power 100% of our facilities primarily through clean energy majorly through solar power.

DQ: Edge computing is likely to be the future. What are your plans?

Sridhar Pinnapureddy: The digital consumer behaviour has undergone a sea change in the last five years as the millennials are taking to the Internet just like fish to water. We have 290 million Internet users in rural India. This number is likely to surpass 600 million by 2025. The millennials and other technologysavvy users are driving the consumption of e-commerce, social media, OTTs, online gaming, distance education, online payment transactions etc.

To address this growing demand we are planning edge datacentres, they would primarily be located in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

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