Data centre operators are betting big on India.They are investing in expansion and setting up Edge computing infrastructure, in the hope that the country will become a data centre hub for the Asia Pacific region once infrastructure challenges are addressed.
India currently has an installed capacity of about 375 megawatts (mw), which is expected to grow to 1,075 mw by 2025.
The government recently unveiled its draft Data Centre Policy, which envisages a series of steps towards making India a global hub, including faster clearances, cheaper power and infrastructure status for the sector.
Data centre operators also believe India could serve as a regional hub.
"The way India became an outsourcing hub, it can become a data centre hub too," said Manoj Paul, Managing Director, GPX India.
With better connectivity, infrastructure and reliable power, India could attract more investments from global companies that have been looking at Singapore for their Asia Pacific data centre needs, Paul said.
GPX, which was recently acquired by Equinix in India, currently has two data centre campuses. It is expanding capacity and will hire nearly 200 engineers in the next few years.
"The rising number of new data centres and Cloud adoption, backed by emerging technologies, can further facilitate a faster rise for India in the digital domain. However, this calls for concerted efforts on multiple fronts, including 5G rollout, infrastructure development and policy reforms," said Sumit Mukhija, CEO of STT GDC, which has evaluated its Edge strategy in five tier II and tier III cities.
Public and private enterprises will have to work together if India is to emerge as a regional hub, industry leaders said.
With data consumption on the rise over the last few years, data centres in India are witnessing huge investments.
According to a recent report by Crisil, the Indian data centre industry, which accounts for 1-2% of the global pie, is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion and is expected to grow at 25-30% to $4.5-$5 billion by 2025.
Data centre operators are putting in place plans for the next phase of growth, which includes investing in Edge data centres, which are smaller data centres located closer to the customer, allowing for faster processing of data that is not stored on premise.
"Edge will become a reality with 5G. It is in the planning stages now, but we will roll out as it matures," said Sharad Sanghi, CEO, Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure of NTT in India.
The boom in data consumption means hyperscale data centres will be needed to store and secure the data, while Edge data centres will help serve local customers.
"With the advent of 5G, IoT, connected cars, smart cities and more, low-latency network with high bandwidth will be critical, and this is where Edge data centres will analyse and process data near the user's location," said Sunil Gupta, CEO of Yotta Infrastructure Solutions.
The company is planning on setting up smaller Edge data centres across cities, which could also serve as internet exchanges.
Sustainability has emerged as another big focus area, with NTT recently launching a solar park in Maharashtra.
"In the next five years, we hope to become 100% sustainable. We are investing to make our data centres more sustainable," said Sanghi.
Others, like Yotta and STT GDC, are tracking their power usage efficiency scores and switching to renewable sources of energy with the aim of taking this to 100% over time.
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