More Efficient Data Centers Can Transform India into a Major Network Hub

Natty Viswanathan December 12, 2012

Mumbai, India

Within four years, India’s data center capacity is expected to reach 6.6 million square feet. According to Gartner, the data center co-location and hosting market is estimated to reach USD $609 million by the end of this year and forecasted to reach USD $1.3 billion in the next four years.

As of late, the data center market has seen a flurry of activity with a number of firms—both Indian and global ranging from Tata Communications and Reliance Communications to IBM. All are starting to make strategic investments in building world class data centers in India.

What’s fuelling this growth? It is quite simple—there are numerous reasons givenIndia’s demographics and increasing connectivity.

For starters, India’s has more than 900 million mobile users and that number continues to grow; however, there remain a disproportionate number of Internet users currently. Approximately 150 million citizens are collectively starting to consume more and more data. Affordable and capable smartphones are spawning a new generation of first time Internet users inIndia, with total Internet users expected to surpass 300 million—double of where we are today.

Then there are India’s 50+ million small-to-medium businesses and entrepreneurs which form the backbone of the country’s growing economy. Combined with enterprise growth (both regionally and through expansion globally),India is seeing a steady increase of data volume underscoring the need for strong infrastructure management as data centers become more complex. As increasing cloud computing adoption spurs the growth of data centers and India inching toward the ‘terabyte’ economy, challenges and opportunities come with it.

It is a double-edged sword; is India ready for it?

Infrastructure challenges threaten to stymie India’s data center aspirations. Lack of quality real estate supply, persistent power outages and poor connectivity are areas where the government needs to play a pivotal role in creating the right data center ecosystem in partnership with industry.

Indian data center managers are becoming increasingly concerned about facility economics and disaster recovery processes to ensure business continuity. According to a recent Gartner report, there is significant pressure on IT infrastructure and data centers to achieve and perform continuously at peak levels of efficiency, agility, reliability and cost optimization.

External factors apart, having a manageable and reliable infrastructure is important to optimizing data centers. This involves establishing a structured, unified cable management system that keeps cabling and connections properly stored and organized, easy to locate and access, and simple to reconfigure. Clearly defined cable routing paths enable easy deployment, reduce congestion and ensure room for growth. This is where the quality of connections counts. Enterprises often overlook the basic infrastructure such as the quality of the ports they use. While saving costs, enterprises often do not realize that using lower quality products results in slower connections, poor performance and leads to network congestion.

A reliable and robust data center is defined by the performance of its infrastructure.India’s information volume will explode in the next few years and continues to happen; existing infrastructure should consistently support the flow of data with zero error margins. A substandard performing data center can be just as expensive and disruptive to your business as downtime and translate into dollar loss. It is ideal to design and implement data centers to outlast the applications and equipment it supports by at least 10 to 15 years.

For example, new data centers have begun to use cables which support 40G of data; however, withIndia’s Internet users expected to grow and the subsequent explosion of data requirements, 40G will most certainly fall short. Thinking ahead of the curve is important and enterprises, while planning their data centers, need to be cognizant of using cables that can support 100G or greater of data.

Maximizing real estate resources is one of the most critical aspects of data center design. As business environments constantly evolve, data center planning needs to remain abreast and continuously change. For example, when designing a data center, one must budget for plenty of empty floor space for future growth, ensuring flexibility and scalability when required.

To meet future business expectations data centers need to bring in greater transparency and tighter control of business operations, assure more consistent and efficient workflows thereby making applications and overall operations easy to manage. Data center managers need to stay ahead of the game in forecasting and making contingencies for large scale expansion, upgrades, migrations and makeovers of existing data center infrastructure to support increased business case requirements.

With more than a billion people, India is certainly emerging as a high growth area for data center hosting. Cheaper bandwidth and heightened interest in implementation of technologies, like cloud computing and grid computing in data centers, will propel India to become a hot spot for data centers, as long as there is prudent planning on all fronts.

Do you agree?

About the Author

Natty Viswanathan

Natarajan (Natty) Viswanathan leads the CommScope Enterprise Solutions business in India and SAARC, responsible for building a multi-disciplinary strategy to grow regional business and to penetrate key emerging markets. As Managing Director in these markets, he has oversight of aligning strategic channel relationships and demand generation with the company's goals being to maintain sustainable and profitable growth. A veteran at turning businesses around, Natty has held leadership positions at Hitachi Data Systems, Parametric Technologies, Clarity International and Bangalore Labs. No stranger to the CommScope group, Natty first began his career at Lucent Technologies in the late 1990s where he was responsible for establishing a partner and distribution channel to increase market acceptance and sales of SYSTIMAX solutions. Natty holds a degree in Commerce from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata.