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Indian Data Center Park policy likely to propel the country as World’s largest data center hub

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By B.S.Rao, Vice President, Marketing, CtrlS Datacenters Ltd

The Union budget proposal by the Indian Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman to introduce a policy to enable private sector to build Data Centre parks throughout the country will play a key role in shaping India as the World’s Data Center Hub.

Today, India’s data center footprint is estimated at 11 million square feet. It is likely to grow to 30 million square feet by 2030 and could perhaps cross 100 million by 2060 comprising of 5,000 edge data centers across the country.

The growth requires to be powered by a unique policy on data centre parks. The Indian Government should encourage private sector to establish data center parks in major metros preferably or the secondary metros, while there should be thrust on creation of edge data centers in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities to citizen technology inclusiveness in the country.

B.S.Rao, Vice President, Marketing, CtrlS Datacenters Ltd

The Data Center policy could consider initiatives such as:

* Subsidized land acquisition cost for large hyperscale data center parks

* Dual-power grid network to ensure seamless electricity supply

* Ensure zero power cuts for data center parks

* Subsidized power/fuel prices

* Internet Subsidy and reimbursements

* Robust and highly redundant multi-path optic fibre connectivity

* Incentives for adoption of clean energy in the form of solar and wind farms in lieu of conventional sources of energy

* Permission for round-the-clock (24X7) operations with women to be allowed to work in night shifts

* Data Center parks to be treated as essential services

Government should also look at measures such as ensure sufficient power capacity for data center parks, build optical fiber connectivity, provide other necessary infrastructure around the data center parks, design special tax policies and guidelines aimed at sustaining the data center players, introduce clean energy incentives for utilization of renewable energy such as solar/wind power.

Major Indian Data Center players such as CtrlS Datacenters (who is now emerging as World’s largest Rated-4 Hyperscale Data Center player) is planning to operationalize 6 million square feet of hyperscale data center parks in India by 2023 including setting up 500+ edge data centers and establishing solar parks, followed by the Adani Group (who has indicated interest in setting up major datacenter facilities in AP), NTT Communications and the recently established Yotta Infrastructure Solutions ((A subsidiary of Hiranandani Group) who has announced a major facility in Mumbai. Almost all the major players have indicated usage of solar (and alternate sources of energy) to power their data center facilities.

India has the potential to emerge as the World’s largest hub for data centers considering that the country is home to 1.15 billion mobile users, 661 million broadband users, 376 million social media users, 401 million smart phone users and 564 million internet users. India is world’s second largest base for mobility, internet users, social media users.

Besides, 1.9 of every 10 citizen on planet earth is an Indian, and this sheer size has led to data growth from a mere 40,000 petabytes in 2010 to 2.3 million petabytes by 2020. The per capita data consumption is estimated to grow from 2.4 GB in 2017 to 14 GB by 2022. The IoT device base which was estimated at 200 million in 2018 is likely to grow to 2 billion by 2020 and will perhaps cross 10 billion by 2035.

Rapid adoption of cloud in the country alongside AI/ML, Big Data Analytics, social media adoption, e-governance, Digital India initiative by the Indian government are leading to large data generation in the country.

Lastly, the anticipated personal data protection policy will lead to surge of data storage requirements in the country as major multinational services providers operating in the country would be mandated to store the data locally in India. The data center requirements could range from 10 million square feet to 30 million square feet in next ten years.

All the above factors may play a key role in helping India emerge as the World’s Largest Data Center Hub. The Data Center Park (DCP) policy combined with the anticipated personal data protection (PDP) policy has the potential to propel the data center market size beyond $10 billion in revenues in less than a decade by encouraging overseas multinational companies to establish their data storage facilities in the country, stimulate employment generation for over a million Indians and contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.

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