By Trideeb Roy
Gone are the days of lift-and-shift cloud migrations. As businesses have learned, there is too much complexity, multiple options, and no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. As a result, “hybrid” and “multi-cloud” IT operations have moved from popular buzzwords to enterprise realities. Today, the Indian data center industry is witnessing spectacular growth and poised to leapfrog, as the country’s data consumption continues to increase exponentially. This growth is propelled by multiple factors such as pandemic-led accelerated technology adoption, growing reliance on cloud computing, the government’s digital push, data storage regulations, expanding digital users, and the much-awaited 5G rollout.
According to a report by JLL, India’s data centre capacity will double to over 1000 MW in 2023, from 499 MW in 2021. This growth is driven by several industries, such as BFSI, healthcare, and education, among others, that bank on local data centres to bolster their digital transformation journeys, as well as meet storage needs and regulatory requirements. Moreover, with digital-first startups mushrooming across the nation, the dependency of businesses on local resilient, reliable, and sustainable data centres is only going to surge.
Let’s take a look at four key areas where local data centres can be the catalyst of growth for the digital economy:
Compliance and regulation standards for securing data: Local data centres are crucial to help businesses meet regulatory compliance. This is even more important in light of new regulations around the storage of sensitive personal data within the country. With local data centres cropping up, businesses of all sizes – whether it is a startup, SMEs, or large enterprises – will be able to adhere to data localization or data residency policies and succeed with their digital transformation initiatives.
Affordability of data services: Sending, storing, analyzing, and accessing data from a data centre comes at a price. This cost automatically rises when company information is stored at offshore or international data centres. However, a local data centre can make all the above substantially affordable for businesses, in effect helping them go digital while making their cost of doing business economical and boosting growth.
A carrier-neutral data centre: Indian communications service providers are expanding 4G networks and are preparing the networks for the upcoming 5G launch later this year. All this will help bring connectivity to even the remotest locations in the country. This means that even the smallest business in a small tier III city can leverage cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other leading-edge technologies to grow. This will, in effect, increase data storage needs. Local data centres can rise to the occasion and make data storage more accessible and deliver high service availability, as they give businesses all the tools they need to truly enter the digital era.
Keeping the hosted data secure and private: Lastly, and most importantly, local data centres can help businesses bolster their security defences like never before. New-age data centres can offer functionalities such as multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, VPN-less remote access, device trust, and more, providing businesses superior agility and control over their data as they go digital. Moreover, they can offer better visibility into the physical security of the data. Data centre localization also ensures that all data is stored stringently and safeguarded as per the norms set by the country’s government, giving businesses peace of mind and allowing them to focus on their growth story.
According to Gartner, by 2025, half of cloud data centers will deploy advanced robots with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, resulting in 30% higher operating efficiency. Data centers are the core of the industrial world. Therefore, as technology continues to evolve, the need for data will only increase, and the explosion of data will become a burden for many companies to handle internally with the existing infrastructure. Moreover, the millions of internet users and burgeoning businesses have set the stage for the growth of the data centre industry in India. These data centres will be central to the digital transformation of enterprises and the development of the country’s digital ecosystem. They will also be central to stimulating innovation and new ways of doing business across sectors.
The author is Director – Sales, Cloud Infrastructure & Software Group, Cisco India & SAARC.