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Data center firms commit crores to ramp up capacity in India

Data center firms commit crores to ramp up capacity in India
Photo Credit: Pixabay
23 Dec, 2021

India's progress towards becoming a true digital economy, backed by progressive government policies, is encouraging domestic and global data centre operators to make huge investments in the country in a bid to expand their footprint.

India is currently home to over 80 third-party data centers, and is witnessing investment from both local and international players that is expected to touch $4.6 billion per annum by 2025, according to a February report by Nasscom.

Tech services provider NTT Limited, for instance, is currently operating 10 data centres in four major cities with 1.5 million square feet of operational space and over 150 MW power capacity. It has already announced an investment of $2 billion in India over a period of four years. “We are expanding our data centre network to build infrastructure that is at the core of our full-stack product offerings," said Vimal Kaw, head of data centre services at NTT India.

Kaw added the company is set to build a data center in Mumbai, called Mumbai 8, which will handle 24 megawatts (MW) of critical IT load -- the amount of energy consumed by servers and network equipment in server halls. Moreover, four new hyperscale data center parks will become operational in the next 18 months — two in Navi Mumbai and one each in Delhi and Chennai. Market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) defines hyperscale data centers as facilities with over 5000 servers. “We will add close to another 175 MW of IT load to our capabilities,” Kaw said.

Similarly, data centre solutions provider Yotta Infrastructure is ready with its second structure, Yotta NM2, with a capacity of 9000 racks that can go live in less than nine months. In addition, Yotta D1, the first data center building in its Greater Noida data center park, will include six interconnected buildings offering a capacity of 30,000 racks and 180MW of IT power. This will go live by July 2022, said Sunil Gupta, co-founder and chief executive officer of Yotta.

Gupta added the company has also signed a deal with the Tamil Nadu government to build a data center park in Chennai. The facility will have a capacity of 150MW and 25,000 racks spread across five buildings. “We have announced an investment of Rs. 8,500 crore to set up a logistics and hyperscale data center park in West Bengal,” he added, saying the company has a roadmap to deliver 1030MW capacity across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Delhi-NCR by 2027.

The Indian data centre market currently houses an estimated 445 MW of critical IT capacity in seven cities, including Mumbai, NCR, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, according to a December 23 report by property consultants Knight Frank.

The country's exponential growth of data creation as well as consumption is fuelling this growth. The data explosion is being driven by the emerging use cases around artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the internet of things (IoT). As the volume of data rises, enterprises, over-the-top (OTT) players, cloud service providers, and global offshore centers will require a robust backend digital infrastructure in the form of data centres, which can effectively cater to the demand of the users. Besides, data centres are catering to the growing digital consumption needs of social media, online gaming, streaming, ecommerce, and online education sites.

Hyderabad-headquartered CtrlS Datacenters, for instance, is planning an additional capacity of over five million square feet across India, including cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Noida. All of this capacity will be available to customers in the next 24 to 36 months in a phased manner, said B.S. Rao, vice president, Marketing at CtrlS Datacenters. The company has planned to set up more than 25 data centres across the cities mentioned above. Rao said the company operates 1.25 million square feet of data centers in India, accounting for 18 percent of the country’s total data center footprint. “With the planned addition of yet another 5.3 million square feet, the combined footprint for CtrlS will stand at 6.55 million square feet,” said Rao.

Likewise, IT infrastructure provider, NxtGen Datacenter, which currently operates four large data centres — one each in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi — is planning to expand in places such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Vizag and Jaipur. The company is planning to invest about Rs.400 crore across 10 data centres in India. "The plan is to get the new units, which will be owned, operated, and managed by the company and operational in the coming years. We are also planning to have at least two smaller data centres operational over the next few months,” said A.S. Rajgopal, CEO and MD, NxtGen Datacenter and Cloud Technologies.

Further, while Indian operators are increasing their capacities by building data centre parks and campuses, leading global service providers are reinforcing their commitment to the Indian market through strategic acquisitions and joint ventures.

Global giant Equinix, for instance, which entered India last year by acquiring interconnection and data center firm GPX Global Systems, is also looking to grow in the country. In September, it added two data centres in Mumbai, and plans to expand to other key metros, according to Manoj Paul, MD, Equinix India.