Data deluge: How can India sustain its rapid digital growth?  

08 March 2021 | Colt Data Centre Services

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Over the last year in particular, we have seen a huge rise in demand for cloud-based services.

This is true both globally and, more specifically, in the APAC region. It’s no secret that a key driver of this demand has been Covid-19, which has forced many businesses to operate online. However, the pandemic has not been the sole driver of this demand in India.

For example, in Japan, a digital revolution has been set in motion by Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Prime Minister, to overhaul both the private and public sector of the country. This was necessary irrespective of the pandemic. Meanwhile, one of the most interesting countries to look at is India, which was digitising at speed long before the pandemic to drive its economic growth.

Such is the pace at which India is digitising, the biggest question the country must answer is: “How are we going to facilitate this growth and ensure we don’t grow faster than our infrastructure allows?” Failure to provide an adequate answer will stunt both India’s digital growth and, subsequently, its economic growth. The answer to this question lies in hyperscale data centres which, renowned for their size and scalability, allow countries like India to digitise at speed and at almost limitless scale.

What’s driving digital growth in India?

In 2015, the Indian government launched the Digital India programme. The aim of the programme was to transform India into an economy powered by a solid digital technology. Since then, India has been focussed on bridging the technological divide and ensuring that its digital transformation reaches even the most remote parts of the country. In 2018, three years after the programme was initiated, India had 560 million internet subscribers, second only to China. This is expected to grow to 850 million by 2025.

This growth in the number of online users has translated to growth for India’s public cloud market. In 2018 alone, India’s public cloud market was estimated to be worth US$2.6 billion. By 2023, it’s anticipated that this could grow to $8 billion. It’s clear that India, in line with the rest of the APAC region, has accepted and embraced cloud technology at a staggering rate. In fact, in the APAC region as a whole, 36% compound growth is expected for public cloud through APAC until 2023, and that’s a conservative estimate. This is being boosted by a wider acceptance of corporate outsourcing that depends on cloud technology and regional hosting strategies by the big players, such as Google, Amazon and Netflix.

It’s clear that, even before Covid-19, India was driving digital growth at a rapid pace. The issue of “How do we keep up with this level of growth and what infrastructure do we need to enable it?” was, therefore, always going to be an impending question. However, by accelerating India’s digital transformation even further, Covid-19 has brought forward the deadline of when that question needs to be answered.

Hyperscale data centres and how they will support India’s growth

If India is to maintain the level of digital growth it is currently seeing and reach the projections that have been made, hyperscale data centres will be imperative. Hyperscale refers to data centres which, owing to their enormous size, offer unrivalled data storage space. As Indian businesses and organisations continue to grow and, by proxy, increase the amount of data they are using and storing, the need to increase storage space quickly will be key. Hyperscale data centres will allow these businesses to continue scaling up their digital capabilities and enable their growth.

One of the key benefits of hyperscale data centres is that businesses can scale up their operations and the amount of data they are storing without incurring additional costs. Companies simply pay for the capacity they need within a hyperscale facility, and can scale up and down as necessary. This means that businesses do not have to constantly restructure their cloud infrastructure every time they grow, which can be both an expensive and lengthy process. It also allows them to benefit from the expertise of companies that specialise in designing, building and operating these hyperscale data centres.

Ultimately, the benefits of hyperscale can help India in its aim to transform its economy into one that is powered by digital technology. However, it’s important that businesses and organisations partner with a provider that has the experience and technical capability that comes with operating and managing data centres of scale. Global hyperscale solutions expertise, and delivering these capabilities to fulfil the next-generation hyperscale designs needs within India, will be crucial.

What to look for in a hyperscale provider

If you’ve never partnered with a data centre provider before, it can be hard to know what to look for. However, if you’re outsourcing such a critical component of your operations, one thing that’s vital is experience. You want to be confident that the provider you have chosen can consistently offer a high-quality service and avoid any down-time. This is something which only experience can guarantee.

At Colt Data Centre Services (DCS), we’re proud to boast 25+ years of experience in the data centre industry. Our presence across UK/Europe and APAC means Colt DCS have access to a well-established body of regional and technical expertise, infrastructure and equipment. More than that, though, Colt DCS’s international presence means that customers can benefit from our unique ability to provide highly skilled and experienced bilingual staff in-house to manage facilities and provide support to our customers.

Partnering with a carrier-neutral provider like Colt DCS provides businesses with the power to choose whichever network carrier they want, providing customers with greater flexibility in working with their carrier of choice, and can often help to further reduce costs.

To help support India’s continued digital growth, Colt DCS is currently in the process of building its first facility in India. The Mumbai hyperscale data centre is set to become one of the largest in India and currently the largest in Colt’s data centre portfolio. It will provide 100MW of power in its entirety.

There’s no doubt that India’s digital revolution was already under way before the pandemic started. Whether it was app downloads, internet subscribers or users engaged in social media, India was only second behind China in digital adoption before COVID-19. However, if India and its businesses are going to maintain the level of growth they are experiencing, they need to invest in the appropriate infrastructure. Hyperscale data centres have been created for this exact purpose: to enable countries and organisations to grow without inhibitions. The time to invest in that infrastructure is now.