How Captive Data Centres are moving to CoLo Providers for Better IT Efficiencies

A growing number of captive data centres are moving to co-location facilities, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s data centre needs are growing exponentially as both enterprises and individuals have increased data consumption. “We are seeing a growing trend of migration from captive data centres to colocation service providers, along with the evolving use cases around emerging technologies such as AI/ML and IoT. All of this demands a new breed of data infrastructure, which is different from the past,” Sunil Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Yotta Infrastructure told W.Media.

To understand this phenomenon, one needs to understand India. The country is home to the second largest internet user base in the world and is in the midst of a huge adoption of cloud computing. This necessiates companies to look at hosting their applications on data centres.

“We need much more capacity than what is available in India. My guess is this could be 7-10 times the existing size in the next half a decade as AI, ML become mainstream,” pointed out Gupta.

Making it Affordable

Even as adoption is increasing, Yotta is also working on making data centre solutions affordable for customers. “Yotta was born from a vision to set up the largest network of interconnected data centre parks across the country, that would offer the highest scalability at lowest cost. But we knew that a vision without “quality” at its heart, would fall short of its objective of empowering the Digital India mission. Market watchers opine that economies of scale will kick in over time. We are working out ways in which data centre solutions can be made affordable,” stated Gupta .

Yotta is also looking to use an increasing amount of renewable energy in its data centres. In UP, the company has sought a Deem Ditribution License through which DC park developers or operators will be eligible for obtaining licenses for power distribution and consumption within the (DC) park. 

“The plan is to migrate to renewables and gas-based power generation on site which will provide chilled water at the most efficient cost structure possible and will bring design PUE or Power Usage Effectiveness numbers down to 1.2 which is unheard of in Indian weather conditions,” Darshan Hiranandani, Group CEO –Hiranandani Group had said a year back. To put it in context, an average data centre in the US has a PUE of 2.0.

Journey to Tier IV DC

In many ways, the company visualised this surge in adoption and began to put in place the infra that can cope with this demand. In May 2020 Yotta NM1 data centre received the Tier IV Certification of Design Documents (TCDD) from Uptime Institute. What this meant was that Yotta NM1’s design met the Tier IV Fault Tolerant criteria and more importantly put it on the global map. To raise the bar on quality even higher, the company set its sights on Uptime Institute Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).

Uptime Institute Tier Certification for data centres is the gold standard worldwide for evaluating the quality of mission-critical data centres. Also, it is to be noted that this is the only certification globally that is outcome-based and assesses and certifies data centres on performance and continuity of operations.

“The idea is to make a data centre which is absolutely fault tolerant. In Tier 3 certified data centres we can do planned maintenance, which allows for a miniscule amount of planned downtime. Tier 4 in the next level which factors in unplanned downtime and other issues. Apart from design there is a need to carry out construction as per the rules of certification,” said Gupta.

Uptime personnel did the complete testing during the COVID-19 pandemic through a mix of online and physical inspection, said Gupta. Possibly, this is the largest Tier 4 certification for any construction anywhere in the world, pointed out Gupta.

Even though the capex went up by 35 per cent but it did not double and yet met all the needs of the certification. In tier 3 there is a dependency, which is not the case in Tier IV as it requires complete automation. Systems will detect the issue and mitigate the problem.

But we still had task to take Yotta NM1 data centre live and prove that the constructed facility was indeed as per the approved Tier IV design – a step that most data centre operators skip, because of many reasons. Ultimately Gupta sums it best. “We put our heads down, and went live with (Yotta) NM1 data centre in July 2020.

Venkatesh Ganesh

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