Bangalore as a city is strategically located and has good interconnectivity. The city has already attracted about 10 data center companies and currently features among the top five leading destinations for the data center industry in India, with a current data center capacity of around 100 MW, accounting for 15 per cent of the Indian data centre industry’s overall capacity.
According to JLL’s ‘H1 2021 India Data Center Market Update’, the acceleration of digitalisation has forced enterprises to scale up their IT infrastructure. As a result of digital upgrades, strong demand for colocation or cloud facilities, across India.
The State government is aiming to add another 200 MW by 2025 driven by its new policy rollout. This will certainly help ramp up capacity in the city in the coming years.
According to Arizton’s latest research report, the Digital India initiative by the Indian government will attract more investments in data centers.
The Indian data center market is expected to double its capacity in the upcoming years, driven by strong digitalisation and an increase in cloud adoption. An increase in cloud adoption, data localisation, and adoption of new technologies such as 5G and IoT are driving the data center demand in India.
India witnessed 16 new projects/expansions in 2021. Some major investors in the market include companies like Bharti Airtel, AWS, Colt Data Centre Services, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres India, NTT Global Data Centers, CtrlS, Equinix and Yotta Infrastructure, among others.
During W.Media’s Bangalore Cloud and Data Center Convention 2022, in panel discussion titled ‘Disrupting Bengaluru’s IT Hub with Future-Ready Data Centres’ technology experts shared their insights about how India is positioned in the cloud and data center sector globally, drivers for boosting the data center economy and investments in India. The session was moderated by Dr. Manohar Chikkanna, Regional President – South Region, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. The panellists included Royce Thomas, President and Chief Business Officer, CtrlS, Syed Mohamed Beary, Founder & CMD – Bearys Group & Chairman – IGBC – Bangalore Chapter, Manoj Paul, Managing Director, Equinix India and Seema Ambastha, CEO, BAM Digital Realty.
The data center ecosystem is dominant in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, NCR and now Kolkata is also emerging and Bangalore is set to become the next data center hub.
“Our job is to develop the data centers primarily. We are not operators and we have our own set of challenges. Data center operators generally take their own time which in a way is required as well. To double up a scale and work out a module. Which will turn out to be a successful module and works seamlessly from a business perspective,” said Syed Mohamed Beary, Founder & CMD – Bearys Group & Chairman – IGBC – Bangalore Chapter.
He further explained that data center is a capital incentive industry and a power incentive industry. When it comes to power, being a sustainable developer it is important to look at how one can make power more sustainable and what technologies can be brought in, in order to reduce power consumption.
“Data centers will run the lifeline of this country to a large extent. I think it’s an infrastructure that will eventually run that so we should look at it from that perspective. Secondly, we have just stepped into the per capita increase in IT, the consumption of IT. We are still not yet there. It is important for us to build credible, sustainable and quality infrastructure.
It will also eventually drive a lot of the economy. In reality, there has been a lot of transformation in the last five years. Both in terms of how we consume IT and how we experience these services. I don’t look at anything global when it comes to data centers because I don’t know if with the GDPR in place global applications will be hosted in India as a destination,” said Seema Ambastha, CEO, BAM Digital Realty.
She further explained that every country wants to keep the data to itself. Data centers will largely propel the growth of this country. It is important to choose the right destination, have the infrastructure and make it sustainable. A data center cannot be changed into a residential area or a commercial center. It would mean a disservice to the nation.
India is going to see a 5x growth as far as the IT consumption is concerned. That will drive the 5x growth in the data center space. A 700 MW today could turn into 3 or 4 GW in five years. A huge amount of money goes into that. Maybe 10 billion dollars to build a quality data center. The industry needs credible players, a global thought process, it needs cooperation from the governments which is the most important.
The Silicon Valley of India
“I see a lot of opportunities for CtrlS in India and outside India. We look to continue our investments for growth in the market. Bangalore has had a long history of being at the core of IT outsourcing, business and application development and has continued that growth with a unique startup environment,” said Royce Thomas, President and Chief Business Officer, CtrlS.
He further pointed out that he sees a lot of growth in the key markets like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore and other new locations in India. Bangalore represents a key component of the growth with the existing data centers and expansion plans of CtrlS.
“We are going through a very interesting phase of digital transformation and data explosion across the world and in India. We all know of the statistics, we have 750 million broadband users and 17 GB of data is being consumed by each of these every month. India currently has about 103 unicorns and these are bringing in new applications which are attracting more users on digital platforms,” said Manoj Paul, Managing Director, Equinix India.
He further explained that homemakers are using apps like Zepto and Dunzo to order groceries within 10 minutes which they were not using earlier. Smartphones in India earlier were only for watching Youtube and other similar apps. Indians are widely using digital platforms, but all these platforms need a basic digital infrastructure to run on.
“One of the basic and most critical digital infrastructures is the cloud. The biggest success and the bedrock of digital transformation have been cloud. Most of the unicorns are predominantly on cloud and many enterprises are also having their new applications on cloud and they have been able to successfully roll out new services in less time with the help of cloud services,” added Paul.
Cloud is Critical
He further explained that the cloud is going to be one of the critical elements for the success of digital transformation across the world. Huge amount of investments will be made in the area of cloud. Very recently, AWS announced a $ 2.6 billion investment in creating a new region in Hyderabad. Other companies including Microsoft are also making investments in the area of cloud and data centers.
“How is the cloud a bedrock for digital transformation? I would say that data centers are the bedrock for the cloud. The cloud services cannot be provided to customers on such a big scale unless there are good quality data centers,” said Paul.
He further pointed out that in India, earlier there used to be 5-10 MW data centers and now we are talking about campuses of 100MW. A huge amount of investments can be seen and all major companies are expanding their operations.
Another important element is the network piece which is essential for the success of digital transformation, cloud and data centers. It is important to have a robust network that connects the data centers to their cable landing stations. Networks also connect data centers to the end user.