Dr AS Prasad
General Manager-Product Management and Marketing Emerson Network Power, India

The spending on Data Centers and related infrastructure is growing and how! In September 2015, Microsoft announced that it will be investing to create local data centers across Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu while Amazon made a commitment to opening up cloud data centers in India in 2016, Undoubtedly the movement toward cloud and the rise of numerous content-guzzling applications with a rapidly rising demand for storage space have contributed to the rapid growth of the data center segment in India. The exponential rise in the numbers of data-hungry customers, the optimism around cloud and the inclusion of big data has majority of CIOs and CTOs always looking for new places where massive amounts of data can be stored and utilized with efficiency and security.

Echoing global trends, the Indian data center market is buoyed by the positive sentiments in the economy and the strong resurgence of growth-related projects across verticals such as banking, insurance, telecom, and undoubtedly the focus of the Indian government on digitization. Case in point: research firm Gartner predicts that the value of the Indian data center infrastructure market will show a 5.2 percent increase Y-o-Y, totalling USD 2 billion in 2016. From a technology stand point, it is an exciting time what with cloud, virtualisation, analytics and security all coming together in an amalgamated way such that companies can be ready for any trend.

Factors driving growth. Today enterprises in India are gradually shifting from paper to digital information management and therefore data centers have become common and essential to the functioning of business systems for companies and governments. Apart from private data centers, the government of India has also setup many data centers in states under the leadership of National Informatics Centre (NIC). Since then, the overall segment has moved so far that today cloud, mobility, and virtualisation are not any more the technology trends that enterprises seek. These trends have gradually become mainstream. Cloud and virtualisation in the data center is no longer a myth with quite a few prominent players like AWS, Netmagic, and Microsoft announcing extensive plans to invest in state-of-the-art data center facilities in the country.

Companies are today consolidating their collection of server rooms and data centers into centralised regional sites to cut cost as virtualisation and compression technology are paving the way for companies to deploy more and use more data-heavy applications.

In India, the major demand is coming from the SMB and SME sector. They are mostly adopting hybrid cloud, which is a combination of on-premise and cloud offerings. Also, for reducing cost and risk, data center facilities are being designed and constructed from integrated, prefabricated modules. This approach enables organisations to develop fully customised, high-performance data centers in far less time than it takes using traditional processes. Overall, the focus has shifted toward ensuring modularity with a razor-sharp focus on maintaining energy efficiency.

Key Obstacles and Hurdles

Adopting energy-efficient technologies and architectures for proper space utilization; building an architecture and design for minimum redundancy; and constant updation and skill building are some of the continuous challenges that every organization needs to work on. However, one of the most challenging tasks has been security. In fact, in the recent past, it has proven to be both a boon and bane. On one hand, due to security concerns, companies are forced to open data centers across different locations while on the other hand, due to security fears, some companies are unable to move to cloud or adopt virtualisation.

This is true to a certain extent. Giving physical control over to a third party is sometimes challenging - especially in the context of security. The other way to look at it is that now one has access to the best-in-class security frameworks as the capital expenditure is shifted to cloud operators. A combination of private and public cloud is the way forward.

The Way Forward

With the burgeoning e-commerce market, focus on digitization and India being the nerve center for major IT activities, the demand for high storage will continue, resulting in phenomenal growth of data centers in the country. In the future, large enterprises will continue to invest in infrastructure replacement and growth-related projects covering enterprise mobility, cloud, and big data solutions. Also they will be focusing on building intelligent and right-sized data centers with the focus being optimizing existing hardware by using additional software capabilities.


 

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