The sheer scale of data centre build-outs that India is looking at

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Cost-efficient data plans, affordable smartphones, rising popularity of video/OTT platforms, and the adoption of cloud-based IT infra are fuelling the data consumption rate in India. Moreover, advanced technologies such as 5G, IIoT, ML, and AI are furthering data usage. Various enterprises such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and others are focusing on strengthening their digital infrastructure to withstand the data surge. 

As data consumption grows exponentially, Digital India initiatives – smart city, safe city, and broadband connectivity will likely generate enormous volumes of data. Telcos & BFSI industries, OTT players, and cloud companies will need a robust back-end infrastructure which can effectively manage the data demand of the users and enterprises. 

Hyperscale Data Centres – A trend shaping up data centre infrastructure – Agile & Resilient 

To manage such scale and volume of data, hyperscale data centres need to be efficient and agile to respond promptly to the data demand, such as in case of COVID, where the data consumption rose by nearly 13% during lockdown in India. Hyperscale data centres have the capability to augment capacity quickly with respect to the surging market demand. High computation & storage, resilient networking-infrastructure and optimized power usage are critical elements of hyperscale data centres.

Hyperscale data centre is a physical housing entity that essentially supports hundreds of physical servers and millions of virtual machines. As per IDC, hyperscale requires ~5,000 servers & >=10,000 sq. ft. For instance, Microsoft’s hyperscale data centre at Quincy connected its sub-units with ~38,000 KM of network cable and Microsoft Azure data centre in Singapore comprises 100+ facilities has enough concrete material to create a pathway from London to Paris. Facebook is extending its data centre footprint to Asia, with a massive 11-storey, 1.8 million sq. ft. facility that will be one of the largest data centre structures ever built.

As per Synergy Group, the number of Hyperscale data centres has crossed the 500-mark globally in 2019, out which the US constituted nearly ~40%. Earlier, the data centre construction demand was mainly coming from the U.S. However, there has been a shift in market dynamics. Countries such as Singapore and India are gaining prominence in hyperscale data centre build-outs due to the government’s data localization mandate. 

According to research reports, the Hyperscale data centre market is project to grow at CAGR of 9% till 2024. The key factors that will contribute to growth are – data sovereignty norms by the government focused on renewable energy and the adoption of IT-cloud infrastructure by the enterprises.

India is going through a rapid digital transformation on the back of the adoption of cloud-based infrastructure, data localization, and other government initiatives in terms of Smart Cities, Digital India, and so on. As the data consumption is on the rise, India is investing significantly in data centre infrastructure. In the future, cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad will likely witness growth in terms of data centre build-outs and likely to reach 2 lakh square feet by 2020-22.

Key Investment in Data Centre Space

  • In 2019, STT (GDC) announced the construction of an 18MW Data Centre facility in Bengaluru, which spread ~400,000 sq. ft. The new 3-tier data centre designed to meet high-density computing which is needed by the enterprise for Mobility, e-Commerce, IoT, Cloud, and Big Data
  • Yotta Infrastructure (Hiranandani Group), has laid out a plan to build 3 data centre parks with 11 hyperscale facilities with a combined capacity of 60,000 racks in the next 5-7 years
  • Adani Group entered into a partnership with Digital Realty (U.S.) to build large data center parks in Andhra Pradesh over the next 20 years.
  • Colt (U.S.), announced an upcoming IT-Hyperscale 100MW data centre facility in Mumbai
  • Real estate investment co. ‘Ascendas-Swingbridge Group’ has pledged an investment of USD 1 billion in new data centre facilities across India in the next five years.

In India, prominent vendors in data centres build-outs are NTT-Netmagic, STT GDC India, Sify Data Centres, and CtrlS. The market is likely to become more competitive with the new set of entrants such as STL coming in to the space with specialised capabilities in containment, power, active and passive peripheral as well as designing and managing complete data centre build-outs. 

Conclusion

Adequate infrastructure is needed to support the ever-increasing data surge. Although, it should not be limited to today’s demand but be agile and resilient for future demand as well. Advances in big data, artificial intelligence, internet of things, and digitalization initiatives such as Digital India campaigns are likely to generate enormous data traffic in the coming years. Hence, the data centres are imperative to manage such large volume of data.

** Note – Companies mentioned were picked from various press releases & new articles

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