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Growing power: the Mumbai data centre aiding India's digital transformation

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Colt Data Centre Services (Colt DCS) is opening a new data centre in Mumbai. With a laser-guided focus on sustainability, health and safety, and high-quality services, the company hopes to help take India boldly forward into its digital future.

As modern world economies become centred around technology, there is a growing urgency for countries to digitally transform. When an economy is growing at a rapid rate, it’s important to ensure that its digital infrastructure can support the demands that come with it.

For a country like India – with an economy growing at a rate of 9.2% annually and the government’s Digital India initiative in place – there’s never been a more pressing need to take action. Businesses have a critical role to play in ensuring that the goals of this initiative are achieved, but to do it they will need sufficient data-centre support.

Colt Data Centre Services (Colt DCS) provides data-centre solutions to hyperscale and large enterprise customers around the world, all set up with a carbon-conscious and sustainable approach in mind. To support India’s rapidly expanding technology and financial sectors, the company proposed the building of a Mumbai data centre.

Set to launch early in the third quarter of 2022, the facility has been carefully built to meet the region’s business-data needs, while also aligning with the wider sustainability goals and strategy of Colt DCS.

Let’s look at the journey of the centre, from the opportunities and challenges of setting up to the finished result.

Big opportunities, big challenges

In the Mumbai region, where Indian business is booming, more data centres are needed to support rapid growth. For example, there is a clear opportunity to support organisations in the banking, financial services and insurance sector, as well as the chance to assist in a country-wide move to more stringent data-protection regulations.

But while designing and delivering data centres to new regions creates opportunities, the process also poses challenges – and there have been many hurdles to overcome, a key one being the various processes involved in land acquisition.

The location where it was planned to build the centre was controlled by the local authorities in Mumbai, meaning that the Colt DCS team had to manage on-ground stakeholder relationships. Though these processes are typical for various statutory bodies across the globe, Colt DCS is bringing a different type of product to the Indian market.

Guaranteeing that high health and safety standards were met was also incredibly important for the project to comply with the standards set by big cloud providers, such as Microsoft and Amazon.

Health, safety and standards

During large-scale builds, there can be inherently high safety risks for workers, depending on safety regulations. Financial constraints or a lack of employee training can create greater risks, whereas market competition and stringent laws can reduce them.

Colt DCS prioritises health and safety in all build projects for data centres, and the same approach applied to the Mumbai site. A hyperscale data centre such as this one, covering 100MW of IT power across 62,000 square metres of space, is a large-scale project involving many employees and contractors. This meant there was an even greater responsibility to ensure that health and safety standards were met and the people involved were taken care of.

Colt DCS proudly achieved over 1 million safe working hours during the building of the Mumbai data centre. This was managed by putting in place a comprehensive health and safety and quality-control programme for staff and contractors.

Constituting many vital elements, this programme has included health and safety briefings and training, design-based approaches to prioritise safety, the implementation of behaviourbased systems, maintenance of equipment and materials, site inspections and award-related recognition for promotional safety activities. The programme’s achievements represented a milestone for Colt DCS, a company that proudly makes worker safety its top priority.

Building a data centre during a pandemic meant that on top of the standard health and safety checklist, there were even more considerations on the table. Alongside ensuring that construction quality was sufficient, Colt DCS made sure it took Covid-19 into account on the ground, such as guaranteeing vaccinations for labourers. This meant that the company not only protected the safety of workers on-site, but also provided access to a critical medical service.

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Sustainable practices

As with any Colt DCS projects, the building of the Mumbai data centre was sustainably led and in line with the company’s environmentally conscious ethos. Colt DCS has set comprehensive near-term science-based targets to cut emissions, and is working on developing its long-term targets and net-zero strategy – a goal that has been embedded in the building of this centre.

As part of its sustainability strategy, the company has ensured that the Mumbai data centre’s renewables plan is in line with this energy commitment. The campus will be powered with renewable energy to its maximum possible requirement, with energy-saving measures implemented in line with the Energy Conservation Building Code issued by the Indian government. Showing its adaptability to future changes, this centre also has capacity for electric-vehicle charging facilities to be set up within the campus area.

The Mumbai data centre mirrors the wider sustainability goals of Colt DCS: it has a commitment to carbon-reduction programmes, ensures zero liquid discharge, and follows reduce, reuse and recycle principles. The implementation of a waste hierarchy means that on average, 90% of waste is diverted from landfill and incineration to be used as energy.

Getting ready for launch

The journey towards setting up the Mumbai data centre began with Colt DCS assessing the scale of the project, as well as how opportunities could be met and challenges overcome – all in a country with an economy rapidly growing day by day.

The final result is a sustainable data centre that can support and power India’s rapidly escalating digital needs, and one that was built using good practice in which the care of workers was treated as paramount throughout.

Through the Mumbai data centre, Colt DCS is set to support the banking, financial services and insurance sector, particularly as the government mandates banks to move data to protected data centres. Moving forward, the company will also use this foundational data centre as a way of supporting large-scale enterprises and attaining wholesale deals.

A promising digital future

As the Mumbai data centre launches early in the third quarter of 2022, Colt DCS will play a big part in supporting India’s growing economy and building its digital infrastructure.

The main aim of the project has been to provide a rapidly expanding digital economy with data centres that can power and house the country’s business data needs quickly, powerfully and sustainably – with the future of India’s digital transformation looking brighter (and greener) as a result.

Colt DCS wanted to play a major role in supporting India with substantial data capacity that is needed as the country makes steps towards digital transformation. With the launch of the Mumbai data centre, it has done just that – and this is hopefully only the foundation of an exciting journey.

As the country further embraces cloud and digital services, and as the finance and tech sectors continue to boom, there is no clear limit on how wide those foundations can grow.