India is witnessing a major digital transformation and a data boom. It currently has over 750 million internet users and 33 million wireline subscribers. It is also among the top three countries in ter­ms of online shopping, online gaming and social media users. Around 86 per cent of India’s gross domestic product is being co­ntributed by online payments or unified payment interface transactions. Further, the average data usage per user per month stands at 13.6 GB at present, and is expected to reach around 18 GB per user per month in the next two to three years.

The major growth driver for this will be 5G, as it is going to increase data consu­mption by around three times. Ecosys­tem partners such as internet exchanges, internet service providers (ISPs), over-the-top platforms and content delivery networks (CDNs) are also playing a major role.

Pandemic drives digital acceleration

One of the reasons why India experienced an exponential growth in digitalisation was the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has changed the way companies learn, wo­r­k and collaborate with each other. The he­al­thcare sector got redefined in every way possible post the pandemic, owing to the ad­option of digital platforms. Mean­while, the disruption caused in the education sector has enabled innovative delivery mechanisms, while e-commerce and fo­od/grocery deliveries have made life easier. Another ma­­jor development has been the unpreced­ented growth witnessed by fintech companies.

India aims to become the world’s data refinery

The government’s aim is to make India a data refinery. Today, India is the fastest growing data centre market in the Asia-Pacific region. The market is valued at $7 billion. Further, capital investments in the Indian data centre market are around two times that of the global market.

Each state in the country is also devising strategies to welcome data centre investments. This is because investments in data centres would lead to the development of an entire ecosystem across the state.

At present, the Indian market has aro­und 138 data centres supporting an infor­ma­tion technology (IT) load of over 750 MW. It has taken us almost 20 years, bet­ween 2002 and 2022, to establish 138 data centres across India. However, between 2023 and 2025, the country is expected to witness 183 data centres being built, supporting an IT load of over 1,750 MW.

Cloud spending is also witnessing a perennial increase. This is another factor driving the growth of data centres. In fact, hyperscalers represent one of the largest markets for the data centre domain.

India emerging as the most connected country

In isolation, data centres are just islands of information that cannot be shared. Therefore, the connectivity aspect is very important for the growth of data centres. Initially, there used to be only one landing point in Mumbai, and the entire internet traffic used to travel from there. Owing to the growth of data centres, currently, we have five landing stations and 17 submarine cable projects connecting India with the world. Further, we are not dependent solely on submarine cable stations, as the In­dian Space Research Organisation is now launching 36 low earth orbit satellites. This will enable terrestrial broadband connectivity within India. To enable and expand national connectivity, the government has granted 40 national long distance licences to operators. Moreover, sp­eciality connectivity partners are coming up, which are only connecting data centres to other data centres.

Footprint of Web Werks-Iron Mountain Data Centers

Globally, we have data centres in 21 locations across six countries in three continents. Further, the company has a total data centre capacity of 613.4 MW across an area of over 4 million gross square feet, and caters to over 1,300 customers.

We have had a presence in India for the past two decades. Within India, the Web Werks-Iron Mountain Data Centers joint venture has data centres in six locations – two in Mumbai and one each in Noida, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. Our data centres have the largest carrier concentration and serve over 200 ISPs, four internet exchanges and a number of CDNs.

As far as our commitment to environmental sustainability is concerned, all our data centres in North America and Europe have been 100 per cent powered by renewable energy since 2017. Today, we measure our efficiency not only by the metric of po­wer usage efficiency but also water usage effi­ciency and carbon usage effectiveness. We are also passing carbon benefits to our customers under our Green Power Pass policy. Therefore, we are focused on creating an ecosystem of sustained growth for the data centre industry.

Based on a presentation by Amit Agrawal, Chief Business Officer, Web Werks-Iron Mountain Data Centers