Nikhil Rathi's standalone Coverage in EPC World | Webwerks
Nikhil Rathi's standalone Coverage in EPC World
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EPC World

Implementation guidelines for a single-window clearance to fast-track projects for smaller data centers can boost the development of data centers in the underserved markets, says NIKHIL RATHI, CEO and Founder, Web Werks

How is the market for Data Center shaping up in India?

Technological transformations across the globe have resulted in the proliferation of gigantic amounts of data only set to grow and APAC is set to be a key market driver. Reports (Frost and Sulivan) suggest that the APAC data center market will be the largest by 2025. While Singapore has long been considered as the icon for commercial activities, connectivity, and access to the APAC region, the country is inherently limited in its ability to cater to the rising global demand for an industry such as data centers. Additionally, post the moratorium imposed by the Singapore government on new data centres due to concerns over the industry’s carbon footprint APAC needed a new foundation and, eyes have turned towards India.

India is blessed with an unmatched geographic advantage, which puts it at just the perfect distance from other APAC financial and business hubs such as Singapore, Dubai, and Shanghai, and even European cities such as London. The country also has a coastline stretching over thousands of miles, making it an ideal point for cable landing from the east as well as the west.

Being the second-most populous country in the world, India is never short on demand. With the Covid-19 chapter adding to the data story it acted as a massive catalyst in terms of both enterprise and individual demands.The country is witnessing a massive emergence of rapidly growing technology-driven companies in almost every business vertical. To manage and analyse this massive data volume, businesses are rapidly switching to cloud-based data storage.

Further, the data sovereignty laws passed by the Indian government mandate all domestic and international companies to store certain data types within the country’s geographical limits, which is bound to drive the demand for data centers and investments in India. The Digital India scheme and the Data Center policy (2020) along with the start-up India, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and smart city initiatives have together introduced policy intervention and incentive mechanisms that boost the development of data center infrastructures in the country. State governments have announced incentives in land, technolog y, special single-window clearances under the ease of doing business plans while also attracting Foreign Direct Investments through tax benefits.

Observing this massive demand, global brands are now trying to reach India. In February 2021, we got into a joint venture with Iron Mountain, who invested $150 million, to fuel data center growth in India.

We are witnessing Data Center clusters in Tier I cities and state capitals; it is still to gather pace, say in Tier II and Tier III cities. Your comments

With the advent of 5G, the increase of IoT, industrial automation and the work from home scenario, the need for data centers has increased significantly. While hyperscalers have accounted for a significant increase (and continued growth) in data centers, especially around Tier 1 cities, there is an opportunity to look beyond them and expand to Tier 2 markets as well as edge data centers where there is a continuous increment in data consumption. Having compute power at the edge enables faster performance and lower latency because data is available locally. Data centers like Web Werks already have plans to expand in Tier 2 cities across the nation to set up edge data centers.

What are the tweaks needed in government policies and regulations for a shift towards Tier II and Tier III cities?

As the backbone of enterprises, data centers already saw a surge in demand during the pandemic.The move to work from home and the demand for software as a service hence drove the development of IT infrastructures in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities like never before. It also brought into trend Edge data centers to reduce latency and ensure business continuity at all times. Edge Data Centers are typically smaller facilities located close to the populations they serve that deliver cloud computing resources and cached content to end-users for a better digital experience. If businesses are gaining an advantage from these edge data centers, clustering them in specific areas goes against infrastructures that give these businesses the edge benefit. MeitY has covered most categories that envisage the development of data centers in India and develop the data center infrastructure across the country through growth and investments. Implementation guidelines for a single-window clearance to fast-track projects for smaller data centers can boost the development of data centers in the underserved markets.

What are the challenges facing Data Center providers in India?

In India due to lack of space, Data Centers are clustered in metros near landing stations. Other major challenges include skilled manpower, power, fiber, clean land zones, proximity to customer locations. Web Werks team of experienced site selection experts locate ideal land passes for mitigating the above risks. This is further vetted through multiple agencies to make sure that little or no surprises exist during the execution of projects.

Please take us through a few unique features of your commissioned Data Centers?

Web Werks has put together the most extensive range of colocation and cloud hosting services designed to allow our customers to adopt a Hybrid strategy. It delivers Wholesale, Retail (shared) and Hyper-scale colocation facilities through its Tier III data center facilities in Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Pune.

Web Werks recently entered into a strategic partnership with Iron Mountain, a global data center operator. With this integration, customers of both companies get access to 18+ DC facilities in India, the US, Europe and APAC.

The key themes of the company carrier-neutral, cloud-agnostic, open-access, OEM- agnostic ecosystem are tier III design standards with guaranteed uptime; high-level redundancy on grid & sub station; electrical distribution equivalent to tier IV; global certifications, with HIPAA, PCI-DSS and GDPR Compliance to meet the most stringent requirements of the financial institutions and other industries; SAP-certified for Infrastructure and Cloud; Cloud on-ramp with major Hyperscaler cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google for a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy; Redundant, multi- homed network from all Tier I Telcos (Airtel, Tata Communications, JIO, Reliance, Vodafone etc.), 200+ ISPs, 3 large Internet Exchanges (De-CIX, Extreme IX, NIXI); PoP level redundancy maintained with each Telco connectivity to ensure maximum uptime for data center customers; Customers can get fast deployment of their cross-connect requirements and also avail multi-homed blended BGP bandwidth at most economical tariffs; Fully automated Data Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions available.

Our customers can empower their business with a leading network infrastructure backed with remote hands data center support to solve strategic challenges whenever required and drive growth. Customers can utilize our expert technicians without worrying about budgets or variable costs for erratic on-call volumes.

With the focus increasingly becoming environment-centric with ‘Sustainability’ as the buzz word, how are you assimilating and accommodating Sustainability in your Data Centers?

We are committing to using 100% renewable energ y and efficient solutions. Web Werks data centers are Carbon Neutral contributing towards Global Go-Green concepts. We run efficient PUE, which is 1.66 using efficient technolog y and plan to have captive solar power as a renewable energ y source to be Green.

What are your growth plans for your Data Center vertical and Data Centers in the pipeline?

Web Werks invested in a land parcel for a 2nd 12.5MW data center in Mumbai in March this year, alongside another 50MW in the offing. Expanding Delhi NCR has also taken on with 20MW in an enhanced campus of the existing data center. Web Werks has also announced investment plans for up to 20MW data centers in metros like Bangalore, Chennai and 10MW in Hyderabad – capability built to support our customer’s growing demand. The company also plans to expand in Tier 2 cities across the nation to set up edge data centers.