Powering The On Demand Age

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Data Centers

By: SridharPinnapureddy, Founder and CEO, CtrlS Datacenters


India witnessed rapid technology advancements post the economic liberalisation, initiated by Indian government in 1991. Large Indian enterprises embraced computerization to gain competitive advantage, operated their mini in-house electronic data processing infrastructure – basically server rooms, perhaps an in-house Tier-2 datacenter, this helped them manage their critical IT and business applications.


However, with rapid proliferation of internet in the 2000’s India witnessed emergence of Internet Data Centers (IDCs) with standardized infrastructure such as seamless power, cooling, availability with redundancy and robust networks and an overall footprint of 6 million square feet which is likely to cross 10 million square feet in the coming decade.


Today, India is home to four Tier-4 facilities out of the world’s twenty seven Tier-4 datacenters. CtrlS established India’s 1st and Asia’s largest Tier-4 datacenter in 2007 with a mission to provide enhanced protection for the most valuable assets of the knowledge economy. Likewise, Sify established India’s first Tier-3 facility in the early 2000’s.

With the advent of technology and seamless availability of internet in the country, our citizens are engaging in online transactions. Now, as a case in point, a banking customer – when he/she transfers money through an online bank transaction -  the data travels through a datacentre. Likewise, when a student swipes a card to pay for his online purchase the payment is processed through a payment gateway and assuming the ecommerce player hosted in a datacentre, the transaction passes through the datacentre yet again. Slowly but surely, a datacentre is now becoming an integral part of every citizen – whether they send an email, clicks a like/share on a social media, order food online, downloads a mobile app, pays through a mobile app or books a bus/train/air/hotel. Datacenter encompasses and forms the core of human living in the twenty first century.


Ever since the first datacentre (which was built) in United States in 1965, the world has come a long way from initially collocating their critical IT infrastructure to ISVs moving from on-premise software to SaaS based applications hosted on cloud, offline shoppers moving to online shopping including online matrimony. This growth in transactions has led to datacenters consuming an estimated 1.3% of world’s total electricity.

The power requirements would continue to surge as cloud, social media, IoT, Big Data/Analytics induce data explosion in the coming decades. The fact that a 5KW per rack consumption in 2000’s was perfectly capable of powering IT infrastructure and applications has moved currently to over 12 KW/rack and likely to cross 25 KW/rack  in near future indicates the power capacity utilization growth in line with explosion of data.

Earlier datacenters would be of a size of 5 to 10 MW. Now 50 to 100 MW facilities have become a new normal. The future belongs to 1000 MW datacenters. Kolo is building world’s largest datacenter with a 1000 MW capacity in Norway with a footprint of 6.4 million sft setting a precedent for others to follow.  


This apart, 1 MW of investment saves over 2 MW of power as infrastructure which would have otherwise been spread across multiple facilities and geographies with low energy would have consumed a lot more power. However, with consolidation of infrastructure at the datacenters combined with low PUE ranging anywhere between 1.42 and 1.6 the power is optimized leading to saving in power consumption and low carbon footprint.


Investments in datacenters have created a robust economic ecosystem - infusion of a million dollar in datacentre infrastructure attracts an investment of forty million and creates 400 jobs. A typical Tier-3 plus datacenter requires an investment of anywhere between $20 and $40 million. It is estimated that the Indian datacentre ecosystem has invested close to $1 billion resulting in $400 billion in investments (direct/in-direct) and creation of 400,000 jobs. Datacenters will continue to emerge and create a robust economic and social ecosystem in the country in the coming years and impacting the lives of Indians in more ways than one.


Going forward, with ever increasing need for rapid scalability, the future belongs to Smart datacenters which can scale intelligently based on customer requirements (powered by artificial intelligence combined with a software defined architecture) helping gain agility and scalability on demand. This would be a true way to power the next generation enterprises and strategy focused CIOs to help them align business with IT.

Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Analytics will revolutionize the datacentre industry in decades to come.  Software Defined Infrastructure Management, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based workload management, Real time scalability, analytics and threat management shall be an integral part of Hyper-Scale (100+ MW) datacenters globally.

The impending privacy laws, and data residency requirements when enforced will lead to a large number of global players seeking datacenter space in India leading to rapid growth and subsequent tectonic shift in Indian Datacenter Industry. This will further pave the way for creation of a quarter million new jobs in the coming years. Lastly, it should be no surprise if the industry revenues surge beyond $10 billion mark by 2040, contributing to the GDP and overall growth of Indian economy.

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