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Colt DCS looks to take center stage in India’s exploding Data Center market

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Pratap Mane, India Country Head, Colt DCS
Quy Nguyen, Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience

India’s digital revolution is in full swing, and at the heart of this transformation lies the vital infrastructure of data centers. Colt DCS, a global leader in data center solutions, has made a significant entry into the Indian market, bringing with it a vision for sustainable growth and technological excellence. In an exclusive interview with Express Computer, Pratap Mane, Country Head of India at Colt DCS, and Quy Nguyen, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Experience, unveil the company’s expansion plans, commitment to environmental sustainability, and long-term aspirations in India

Some edited excerpts

The hyperscale data center market is experiencing substantial growth. Could you provide some insights into how Colt DCS plans to invest and contribute to the growth of the Indian data center market?

Pratap:  India’s digital landscape has witnessed an unprecedented surge in demand in recent years. Leading real estate consulting firms project that India’s appetite for data center capacity is set to reach a substantial 1.4 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. Notably, Navi Mumbai accounts for a significant 50% share of this data center capacity.

Colt DCS’s flagship Navi Mumbai data center represents a strategic move and a robust commitment to meeting the escalating demands of hyperscale cloud service providers and large enterprises in the rapidly expanding Indian data center market. This marks Colt DCS’s maiden venture in India, and the facility offers customers an exceptional level of flexibility and scalability. Situated across a sprawling 15-acre expanse, it boasts a remarkable 120 megawatts (MW) of IT power capacity. This adaptable and scalable design positions us to cater to the evolving needs of our customers and the demands of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, machine learning, and other compute-intensive cloud applications that rely on high-power density solutions.

Can you share more details about Colt DCS’s newest facility in Navi Mumbai? Specifically, what is the facility’s capacity, location advantages, and its environmental sustainability features?

Pratap:
Colt DCS is embarking on a monumental venture with its upcoming hyperscale data center facility in Navi Mumbai, poised to become the crown jewel in their existing portfolio. This colossal facility, boasting a remarkable 120 MW capacity, is meticulously designed to meet the exacting demands of the world’s largest cloud service providers.

Spanning an impressive 62,490 square metres, the Colt DCS Mumbai Data Center will encompass 10 distinct data center buildings, housing a total of 40 data halls. These halls will provide an expansive 40,000 square metres of premium white sellable space, capable of accommodating over 20,000 racks.

One of the standout features of this facility is its robust infrastructure, including a dedicated 220kV substation within the campus. This substation will be fortified by two 150 MVA power transformers, ensuring dual power sources directly from the electricity grid. This redundancy significantly bolsters uptime and reliability, offering Colt DCS customers a seamless experience.

The initial phase of the Mumbai Data Centre project has already commenced, offering an impressive 28 MW of power with an available IT capacity of 18MW. Moreover, the facility has been meticulously designed to achieve an annualised design Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.45, attesting to its energy efficiency. Notably, it is on track to obtain ISO27001 and ISAE power certifications.
In recognition of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the facility has recently achieved the prestigious IGBC platinum rating, further underlining Colt DCS’s dedication to excellence in the data center industry.

India is a diverse market with regional variations. What are Colt DCS’s expansion plans for other regions in India?
Quy: We are dedicated to making long-term investments in India, with a projected investment of $856 million over the next 2-5 years. This substantial commitment is driven by our recognition of the vast potential for growth and demand across the country. Our initial project is set to launch in Mumbai, and we are actively exploring opportunities in two other cities in India, with the intention of expanding our presence and building a comprehensive portfolio in the country.

How does Colt DCS’s global vision align with India’s vision for digital transformation, and what role do data centers play in achieving this alignment?
Pratap: India’s digital appetite has witnessed a remarkable surge in recent years. Leading real estate consulting firms predict that the country’s demand for data center capacity will surge to 1.4 GW by 2025, with Navi Mumbai accounting for a substantial 50% share in this burgeoning landscape.

Colt DCS’s Navi Mumbai Data Center stands out by offering customers exceptional levels of flexibility and scalability, thanks to its sprawling 15-acre land parcel capable of supporting a robust 120 MW of IT power capacity. This adaptable and scalable design empowers Colt DCS to adeptly respond to the rapidly evolving needs of emerging technologies and various use cases, including generative artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, machine learning, and other compute-intensive cloud applications that rely on high power density computing.

Colt DCS offers a range of services. Could you provide an overview of your overall business portfolio and your forecast for sectoral innovation in the Indian market?

Pratap:
Colt DCS stands at the forefront of the data centre industry with a remarkable portfolio comprising 16 state-of-the-art, carrier-neutral operational data centres spanning Europe and Asia. With over 25 years of industry expertise, we specialise in the sustainable design, construction, delivery, and operational management of hyperscale data centres across Europe and APAC. Our dedicated focus on hyperscale and large enterprise clients extends across 8 key cities. We are guided by our vision to be the industry’s most trusted and customer-centric data centre operator, and our unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility is at the core of our operations.

We understand the imperative of reducing our global environmental footprint and have made sustainability a central strategic driver in our journey.

Environmental sustainability is a critical concern today. What is Colt DCS’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and how does renewable energy play a significant role in powering the Mumbai Data Centre?

Quy:
At Colt DCS, we place paramount importance on sustainability throughout the entire lifecycle of the Mumbai Data Centre, encompassing its design, construction, and ongoing operational management. Our unwavering commitment to global sustainability principles is underscored by the provision of round-the-clock 100% renewable power, a testament to our dedication to fulfilling our environmental, social, and governance responsibilities.

It’s mentioned that Colt DCS has received accreditation by IGBC. Could you elaborate on how this accreditation strengthens your commitment to green energy and global sustainability initiatives?

Pratap:
The IGBC activities have enabled a market transformation in embracing green building concepts, materials and technologies. IGBC continuously works to provide tools that facilitate the adoption of green building practices in India. The development of IGBC Green Data Center Rating System is another important step to promote sustainability. The Green Data center rating system is intended to enable construction and operation of data centers with enhanced resource efficiency, thereby leading to National benefits across India.

Data Centers have assumed tremendous importance in the last decade as India continues to become more and more digital. They contribute significantly to several National benefits including the ways Business is done, reduction in fossil fuel use by reducing travel for trade & domestic transactions, man-day savings involved in day-to-day activities, IT enabled services, speed of communications, employment generation and several others. IT infrastructure and data centers are vital in translating the country’s vision of emerging as ‘Digital India’. Green building rating brings together a host of sustainable practices and solutions to reduce environmental impacts. Green building design provides an integrated approach considering life cycle impacts of the resources used. The Platinum Rating (Pre-certification) reiterates our commitment to drive sustainability in our design as well as Operations, which are important for us & our Clients.

It is very important for Data Center’s to define the sustainability goals during the site selection & planning process to drive energy efficiency. The use of right building materials & resources as well as an innovative design to lower the PUE are very critical during the construction phase of any Data Centre.

As the demand for cloud services continues to rise, what strategies is Colt DCS implementing to ensure the efficient and secure operation of data centers for your clients in India?

Quy:
Our management and operation standards are standardised across our global portfolio, regardless of location we always adhere to the most stringent security protocols to protect our customers data. The security of our buildings, infrastructure and that of our own staff as well as those of our customers are the focus of a highly experienced security operations team. Our smart approach to physical security using reactive systems ensures that all security events are detected and dealt with quickly and effectively whilst minimising the reliance on human monitoring.

India is a highly competitive market for data center services. What sets Colt DCS apart from other providers, and how do you plan to maintain your competitive edge in the Indian market?

Pratap:
Our strengths lie in our on-demand scalability, offering customers the assurance that their data and capacity needs can seamlessly accommodate exponential growth. Additionally, we prioritise reliability, with a dedicated 220kV substation situated on our campus, bolstered by two 150 MVA power transformers. This configuration guarantees dual power sources from the electricity grid, significantly enhancing uptime and reliability for our valued customers. Moreover, the design of our data centre adheres to international standards, mirroring the meticulous approach we’ve employed in constructing other facilities within our extensive portfolio.

Looking ahead to the next decade, what are Colt DCS’s long-term goals and aspirations for its presence and impact in the Indian data center market?

Quy: One of our foremost objectives is to actively contribute to skill development, a critical pillar in supporting India’s burgeoning digital economy, particularly in light of the impending impact of AI. We understand the national significance of skill development and are fully committed to it. Our aim extends to fostering job creation within the industry, both directly and indirectly. During the construction phase alone, we generated nearly a thousand jobs, encompassing roles for third-party vendors, remote workers, and consultants. Our inaugural project in India has been a valuable learning experience, enabling us to establish a robust presence in the country and cultivate a highly skilled talent pool. We intend to further nurture and expand this talent pool across different regions in India as we move forward.

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