Executive Viewpoint

The Need is to Design a Datacenter for Tomorrow but Deliver Today

Most datacenters are built for regular servers and equipment, but this is seldom sufficient for very long. The rapid growth in business has meant that infrastructure is at a premium and most companies with captive datacenters run out of space, power or cooling too soon after these datacenters are deployed.

Having understood the datacenter business for many years now, what do you feel are the challenges confronting CIOs, with respect to datacenters?

In the past few years, I have spoken extensively to CIOs from across business segments and understood that they all have similar concerns. Most datacenters are built for regular servers and equipment with under 4 Kva per rack, but this is no longer sufficient. The rapid growth in business has meant that infrastructure is at a premium and most companies that have captive datacenters have already run out of space, power or cooling. Another issue is that in a majority of datacenters, connectivity is the monopoly of a few large telecom operators, resulting in difficult financial and service terms. Also with captive datacenters, the problems of high Cap-ex and a constant drain on finances due to maintenance costs and manpower retention, is a key concern.

But customers have issues with third party datacenters as well. What in your opinion, is the way forward?

These issues stem from the fact that CIOs believe most third party datacenter vendors do not quite understand the managed-service business very well or they have entered into restrictive contracts with datacenter solution providers that are expensive and do not let them reduce their IT outlay. The common thought then, is that the promise of managing data flawlessly, taking ownership and guaranteeing peace of mind is rarely met. Customers are looking for more. For instance, our datacenter in Mumbai offers a TIA Rated 4 certification along with the latest 'Six Sigma' model of operation. We maintain a constant bench strength of 50 people to handle all emergencies, and our services framework is such that we are never caught unawares. At CtrlS, accountability is always top priority.

Is the need for green datacenters and changing the way we run existing datacenters a valid concern or just a trend that everyone is catching on to?

Datacenters do consume a lot of power but what we can do is plan and build them effectively to make more efficient use of power sources. For instance, in our Mumbai datacenter, we have invested heavily to ensure that it is a highly efficient green datacenter. We have done this by planning for and building double walls, BTU material, highly efficient glazing, centralized cooling, energy efficient transformers and UPS systems, using LED lighting and other power saving measures. In fact, our Mumbai datacenter is built for a PUE of 1.42 – the lowest rating offered in the country. While investing in these technologies is cost-intensive, the rewards and savings are worth it in the long run. With governments and customers around the world actively pushing for green solutions, we have long passed the phase of 'green' being just a trend. At CtrlS, we believe green datacenters are the future.

It is believed that 90% of companies will see a disruption in datacenter operations in the next 5 years due to power failures and issues with availability. How can this be avoided

The need is to design for tomorrow but deliver today. Gartner forecasts datacenter capacity in India will surpass 5 Million Sq. feet by 2012, a growth of 31% between 2007 and 2012 but the critical need at the moment is to invest in technologies and plans that ensure that this growth is fed by constant and dependable power. By maximizing the utilization of space, incorporating in-built efficiencies, putting in place redundant power systems and captive power generation units as back up and investing in green technologies, we can make sure that no matter what the situation, the safety of data and uptime of our clients' businesses is always assured.

As we usher in 2012, what do you believe are some of the drivers for the datacenter industry, both captive and third party, in India?

That the IT spend of Indian industries is growing is a fact. India's IT revenues amounted to $76 Billion in 2011 with datacenters taking a share of $2.2 Billion. This year, third party datacenters are estimated to make $671 Million, registering a growth of 36.5%. However, the real growth will come from creating paradigm shifting propositions that deliver true business value for the clients. Take, for instance, the Disaster Recovery on Demand and Private Cloud on Demand services pioneered by CtrlS. These propositions enable clients to size their operations based on their actual needs, which in today's business environment, is a huge advantage. With over 2 lakh Sq. Feet of raised floors, our green datacenter in Mumbai offers scalability for at least a decade without the huge Cap-ex burden that businesses dread. Our services framework adds in depth knowledge of technologies like Cloud computing and virtualization. I believe that CtrlS is very uniquely placed vis-à-vis our competition.


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