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India's data centre market set to boom; concerted efforts needed to reduce their power consumption

Several Indian companies are setting up data centres, which are power-intensive

Pravin Rawool | Updated on: Saturday, May 14, 2022, 07:08 PM IST

Data centres, unlike ordinary buildings, contain precision and strategic cooling systems to maintain temperatures and humidity at an optimal level for reliable server operations.  | Kevin Ku
Data centres, unlike ordinary buildings, contain precision and strategic cooling systems to maintain temperatures and humidity at an optimal level for reliable server operations. | Kevin Ku
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The rapid transition to a digital economy has witnessed a huge data explosion. Several Indian companies are setting up data centres, which are power-intensive.

The anticipated rollout of 5G is also heavily influencing India's edge data centre investments. Edge data centres are positioned at the network's edge and are smaller facilities located closer to the population they serve. This allows for edge computing, which involves processing data and services as close as possible to the end-user.

Infra status to data centre industry

The finance minister granted infrastructure status to the data centre industry while announcing the Union Budget 2022-23. This brings its development at par with other major sectors to avail long term credit, and drive data localization in the wake of growing data security in these fast-changing digital times. This step will enable India to become a global data centre hub with a favorable geographical location, availability of skilled resources, power reliability, and establishment of enhanced connectivity.

The government has drawn up an ambitious scheme to give incentives of Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 12,000 crore to companies for setting up data centres in the country to fulfil its vision of “making India a global data centre hub”. The total investment in the data-centre industry in India is estimated to touch Rs 70,000 -72,000 crore over the next five to ten years.

India data centre industry to double by 2023

India’s data centre industry is expected to double by 2023 and data centre capacities are expected to increase from 499 megawatts (MW) IT load to 1008 MW. This, in turn, would lead to a requirement of over five million sq. ft of real estate. India is currently home to over 80 third-party data centres and is witnessing investments from both local and international players that are expected to touch $4.6 billion per annum by 2025.

For any data centre, MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) infrastructure constitutes a significant portion of the Construction cost. From a reliability aspect, MEP Design & EPC is very critical. Data centres, unlike ordinary buildings, contain precision and strategic cooling systems to maintain temperatures and humidity at an optimal level for reliable server operations.

Data centre managers need to keep a tight eye on energy consumption, which necessitates the usage of resource monitoring technologies. When constructing a data centre, security, power, cabling and redundancy are all important considerations. HVAC and even building pressure must be managed when working with electronics to ensure a safe working environment. This is where MEP services come in.

MEP systems are the central nervous system of any building and in charge of a structure's "creature comfort" qualities. Whether it's a single-story or a widespread data centre, they make the structure more efficient and safe.

Mumbai is leading data centre hub in India

Mumbai, with a 199 MW IT load is the leading data centre hub of the country with cable connectivity and assured power supply. Data centres capacity in Mumbai, the country's commercial capital, is likely to grow 2.65 times to 529 MW by 2023. The city is expected to add 330 MW in the next two years and Navi Mumbai is expected to account for 83 percent of these additions in the Mumbai region.

To reduce the carbon footprint of data centres, a concerted effort is underway to reduce their power consumption. Currently, the global carbon footprint for data centres accounts for more than 2 percent of global carbon emissions, with the number expected to rise to 3.2 percent in 2025. By 2040, data storage is predicted to account for 14 percent of the world's carbon emissions. Considering this, India needs to implement various measures to reduce its carbon footprint including reforming data centres with energy-efficient equipment, sharing networks virtually across servers at multiple locations, and adopting renewable energy sources to ensure greener practices.

(Pravin Rawool, Assistant Vice President & Head – MEP & Internal Services, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.)

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Published on: Saturday, May 14, 2022, 07:08 PM IST