According to Nxtra by Airtel, the data center subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, in collaboration with JLL India, the country’s largest real estate consultancy and professional services firm, India’s data center industry is poised for sustained growth, driven by a diverse range of consumer and demographic trends.
The launch of a joint study titled “Data Centers: The Building Blocks of the Digital Revolution in India” predicts that the expansion of the Indian data center industry will be aided by the pandemic-driven accelerated adoption of digital infrastructure, rising digital usage, cloud consumption, and the national 5G rollout.
Much of the industry growth will be concentrated in Mumbai and Chennai, according to Nxtra by Airtel and JLL analysis, due to their business and infrastructure advantages, strategic location, and cable landing stations that are well-positioned to support and enable the growth of data centers across India.
In addition, the survey finds that data protection convergence, strong demand from cloud players, migration from captive to cloud, industry-friendly policies, government’s digital ambitions, and investments would drive the data center industry’s continued expansion in India.
“India’s digital transformation is expected to create an economic value of US$1 trillion by 2025. Apart from existing sectors, new areas like agriculture, healthcare, logistics, jobs, and skills market, e-governance, and other areas, coupled with advanced technologies, will lead to significant growth of data storage and computing. The Indian data center industry will act as the backbone, enabling India to emerge as a global hub. Owing to their locations and infrastructure, Mumbai and Chennai are expected to be the largest beneficiaries of potential growth in India’s data center market,”said Rachit Mohan, Head, Data Centre Advisory, India, JLL.
“The data center industry is witnessing exponential growth, given India’s strategic location in the region. Chennai with its host of infrastructure advantages like the highest internet speeds in the country, availability of submarine cable landing infrastructure, land supply, green energy options, supportive government policies, and skilled manpower will emerge as the next data center hub after Mumbai. As the industry attains infrastructure status, data center expansion will further accelerate and with it the inherent need for sustainable measures. Sustainability will be a huge focus for the industry and our efforts to reduce carbon footprint will play a big role in India becoming a preferred data center hub in Asia Pacific,”Rajesh Tapadia, CEO, Nxtra by Airtel said.
While coastal towns with direct access to cable landing stations would be the primary benefactors of India’s data center future, landlocked areas such as Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Pune will also benefit from the burgeoning data center business. The data center business in the Delhi NCR region has benefited from regulatory incentives and has the ability to meet high demand from government agencies. Due to its proximity to Mumbai, Pune has become a disaster recovery center for banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) companies. On-premises data centers run by global in-house centers of multinational technology businesses are more common in Bengaluru. Kolkata, in India’s densely populated eastern area, is expected to get a new cable landing station in the coming years and will become a significant hub.
According to the joint research, India’s digital journey is accelerating rapidly, and cloud, data center, and telecom players are adopting various strategies to capture a share of this growing market. Nxtra by Airtel is well aligned with this journey and to invest Rs 5,000 crores by 2025 to further scale up its largest network of 11 large and 120 edge data centers, fully integrated with Airtel’s global submarine cable network and landing stations.
The investment will include new data center parks in key metro cities and will triple Nxtra by Airtel’s installed capacity to over 400 megawatts (MW). Nxtra by Airtel has commissioned three captive solar power plants to source green energy to power its data centres and is committed to achieving 50% of its power requirements through renewable energy sources in the next 12 months.