Increased data consumption and generation leads to demand for data centres in India

DURING the lockdown the increase in gaming and content consumption on OTT platforms has also resulted in an increased demand for data centres. All this has led to an increase in data generation, which needs to be stored and maintained securely, which only data centres can provide and leading to an unparalleled demand for DCs in India, opined Jatinder Singh Pabla, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, STT GDC INDIA in an exclusive interview with TechTrail.

Excerpts:

Q. How has Covid accelerated the demand for network solutions and data storage?

A. Due to the COVID imposed lockdown, the situation is evolving with every passing day requiring us to monitor it closely and continuously assessing any potential impact of these changes. Covid has resulted in a sustained acceleration in the adoption of digital applications, content, processes and transactions much beyond the upsurge witnessed during the lockdown period. Staying at home is now a part of the new normal and the world is increasingly relying on the Internet when it comes to managing work and sorting out necessities. As a result, many businesses across sectors have been compelled to migrate to a digital and more inclusive world not just to grow but to survive.

This has led to soaring demand for data centres and network solutions all over the globe with the sector serving as an essential backbone of the new, digitally-enabled economy. Individuals are restraining themselves from stepping out resulting in an increase in delivery of essentials/non- essentials goods, both, digital and physical, leading to an increase in the data storage and network requirements by the industry.

This situation propelled the need for data centres granting them the coveted ‘Infrastructure status’, which has placed them high on global investor radar. The sector has become so important for the economy to function that it has been given essential status for continuity of ‘Mission Critical’ services under the IT/ITES/Data Centre Industry framework advised by the Government, during the lockdown.

Q. How has India become a digital economy with exponential growth in data generation?

A. In the last five years, India’s endeavour to become a full-fledged digital economy has resulted in better internet connectivity, digital payment as a preferred option and several robust developments such as the growth of user data, e-commerce, moving towards 5G technology and stricter laws of data localisation and Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) etc driving market growth and momentum. Along with these major changes, the most recent developments have been triggered as a result of Covid and its ramifications which have driven businesses to integrate themselves into the country’s digital economy to thrive amidst challenges and threats. Work from home is the new normal and the world is increasingly relying on internet connectivity compelling several businesses to migrate to a digital setup to survive and thrive.

To adapt to this exploding digital ecosystem, the demand for data centres all across the country has increased, thereby serving as an essential backbone of the new, digitally-enabled economy. Exploding e-commerce and expanding gaming industry have also facilitated data centres becoming the centre of this immense digitisation. This sector has become indispensable for the economy to function and thereby has been granted essential status for continuity of ‘Mission Critical’ services under the IT/ITES/Data Centre Industry framework advised by the Government during the lockdown, which in turn has also notched up the significance of the industry, placing it high on global investment radar.

Q. How is STT GDC India ensuring business continuity despite challenges like Covid, power-grid failure in Mumbai and natural catastrophe in Hyderabad?

A. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region faced a critical infrastructure disruption on account of the power outage resulting from grid failure, which in turn had taken a toll on organisations as they grappled with significant challenges and potential financial losses. A similar threat to business continuity was witnessed during the Hyderabad floods and in both cases, STT GDC India was able to handle the situation effectively. Across all data centre facilities in Mumbai and Hyderabad, we ensured uptime and facilitated business continuity to all customers without any disruptions, whatsoever. STT GDC India’s state-of-the-art redundancy architecture along with our business continuity plan (BCP) enables us to be prepared for such incidents that could otherwise impact business operations.

Q. India is poised for massive growth in the data centre industry, with Mumbai topping the list. How is STT GDC India contributing to the growth?

A. We are fully committed to the India market and our customers. This commitment outlines a strategic direction for STT GDC India to maximise performance, reliability, data security and sustainability in our data centre footprint across India.  STT GDC (India) is the leading Data centre colocation service provider in India with 16 operational Data centres spread across 8 cities. To support the exponential growth of India’s digital ecosystem and the demand for quality data centres, we are undertaking the construction of new data centres and also expanding existing facilities. Within the last nine months, we have launched two new facilities in Bengaluru and Pune, taking our critical IT load capacity to more than 100MW. Another 30MW will be operational in the next four to six months. Besides this, we have definitive plans to expand in key micro-markets of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai and expect to double our critical IT load capacity in every two to three years in future.

Q. How has internet penetration, data consumption combined with the adoption of cloud computing created an unparalleled demand for Data Centres (DCs) in the country?

A. Over the past five years, we have seen the Indian digital ecosystem grow exponentially and one of the key driving factors has been better internet connectivity leading to increased data consumption and generation.

In India, the colocation market is projected to grow at 23 per cent CAGR over the next few years driven by cloud, digitisation, data localisation, IT infrastructure outsourcing and internet growth. Cloud is growing at 33 per cent CAGR and is leveraging colocation for growth, while the digital transaction is going to touch USD 1 trillion in India by 2025. Data sovereignty regulations are in place mandating organisations to host the data in India. The internet and edge will reach 70 per cent of the people from the current 30 per cent by 2026. And there is an investment to build new data centres.

Apart from the current pandemic, all the above factors have pushed more organisations to move towards outsourcing to build business continuity and optimise cost. During the lockdown, the increase in gaming and content consumption on OTT platforms has also resulted in an increased demand for data centres.

All these factors combined have led to an increase in data generation, which needs to be stored and maintained securely, which only data centres can provide and leading to an unparalleled demand for DCs in India.

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