Indian conglomerate Adani Group on Tuesday announced a partnership with San Francisco-based Digital Realty, a provider of data centre solutions. The two companies would jointly evaluate developing and operating data centres, data centre parks and cultivating undersea cable provider communities of interest across India, a media statement stated.
The announcement underlines the mega opportunity in the Indian data centre market. According to an estimate, India's data centre real estate footprint was just 1.7-1.9 million square feet around 2007. Of this, half was on-premise (companies maintaining in-house data centres) and the rest with third party operators. By 2010, the footprint grew to 2.8 million square feet and by 2018, to 10.9 million square feet. It is expected to grow to 30 million square feet by 2025.
There are many factors driving the Indian data centre market. Business Today recently spoke to Paul Henaghan, Senior Vice President of Data Centre Solutions, APJ, Dell Technologies. India's digital drive, he says, is one of the key market drivers. "The digital drive to create a growth economy is very strong across India. We see it in smart cities, in Flipkart and the work they do, in micro payments, and in Aadhaar. There is a growth mindset around digital," he says.
Second, India is now driving a lot of intellectual property (IP). "India always had an IT industry, a thought leadership profile. However, earlier, the IP did not come from India. That is flipping on its head now. We see a lot more IP being driven with the number of unicorn start-ups coming through in India. There is innovation around how to use data to drive the fourth industrial revolution, the digital revolution," Henaghan added.
Data localisation - the trend of data being the new currency - could drive much of the growth in the data centre market, going ahead. Governments in many parts of the world want control and access to their citizen's data. Henaghan noted that localisation demands are fairly common across South-East Asia. It is largely dominated by financial data which is easy data to identify also because of the explosion of fin-tech.
"Social media (companies) dominate the technology industry today. What is their value? The value is in the data, our data. Therefore, recognising data sovereignty is a critical part," Henaghan says.