InterGlobix Magazine’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Bedi recently sat down with Sunil Gupta, the Co-founder and CEO of Yotta Infrastructure, a Hiranandani Group Company, which was formed to power India’s digital economy, driven by data.
Gupta gained his moniker as India’s Data Center Man for being best known as the person who has built and operated the largest number of third-party data centers in India. Besides creating India’s largest data center parks, Gupta also has chalked out disruptive technology
portfolio solutions for varied industries at economical prices under Yotta Tech. Sunil has also authored the “Financial model for understanding data center investments,” an in-depth mathematical model that helps the C-Suite make informed data center investment decisions.
Yotta NM1 is the only Indian data center that has achieved the rare distinction of Uptime Institute Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF). Tell us about the journey to this achievement?
Yotta has been committed to pursuing excellence since its inception. We always have been focused on achieving the highest standards that a data center facility could offer. We reached the first milestone of our TCCF journey when we received Tier Certification of Design Documents (TCDD) within just one year from going live.
This coveted certification proves that our data center facility has been constructed in accordance with the approved design, validated by TCDD. Uptime Institute has verified that the facility could meet the mandated availability and fault-tolerance for TCCF through an audit process, which included live system demonstrations. These were stress tests under real-world conditions that substantiate our data center’s performance.
The process lasted 11 days. During this, we demonstrated our capabilities and passed 76 stringent tests. The inspectors from Uptime Institute would randomly choose a test to be demonstrated live and try to cause failure in every possible system to observe the effect. The purpose of these tests was to ensure that the evaluated design could withstand any failure.
During these tests, we also encountered challenges. For instance, some tests were not 100 percent successful in the first attempt and required minor course correction. Our team discussed the issues; and the design changes were made overnight and then the tests were performed at the site the following day.
This rare feat couldn’t have been achieved without the determination and dedication of our team and the support of our partners.
What does TCCF certification mean for Yotta, its customers and the overall Indian data center industry? And, what comes next?
This certification is an indication of the development of world-class data center infrastructure in India, and how it is striding toward becoming a global data center hub. Furthermore, the TCCF certification places Yotta as a pioneer in the data center industry, especially for unmatched quality. It is the only third-party data center in India to be certified with Uptime Institute Tier IV TCCF.
As our customers climb higher on the innovation ladder, they will require hyperscale data center infrastructure to support their AI/ML, IoT and AR/VR applications, among others. Data center facilities like ours will play a crucial role in facilitating digital innovation across industry sectors. We are glad to share that the customers who review our facility understand the significance of being Tier IV certified. They can be assured of complete fault tolerance and 100 percent uptime for their mission-critical requirements.
I’m thrilled to further leverage this opportunity to share our plan to level up again by going for the ultimate certification in the data center industry-Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability (TCOS) Tier IV Gold. This is an assessment of data utilization, software infrastructure, operating systems, redundancy and other facility components to identify potential sources of unplanned downtime. In addition, TCOS will demonstrate our ability to plan for non-stop production throughout all normal operating conditions defined by the Tier certification.
Reports are suggesting that Yotta is building its own edge data center network. How will that position Yotta as a complete digital ecosystem creator?
As the IoT footprint grows across India, the demand for edge data centers is bound to surge. Moreover, with 5G knocking at our doors, the number of connected devices will increase exponentially, thereby generating data on a scale never seen before. Then, this data would be processed at the edge to ensure a seamless hyper-connected digital ecosystem. Furthermore, with India’s burgeoning OTT marketplace, the need to deliver content to the last mile will demand a robust nationwide edge data center network.
Realizing these needs, Yotta plans to invest around $121 million in three or four years to build approximately 100 edge data centers across India. Starting with up to 10 cities, the first phase of our edge network would come up in Tier II and Tier III cities, such as Nagpur, Coimbatore, Ranchi, Jaipur and others.
In terms of Yotta’s positioning, we are enabling the digital ecosystem via our Uptime Institute Tier IV certified constructed facility, topped with managed cloud offerings and a suite of partnered solutions. These solutions include High- Performance Computing (HPCaaS), endpoint backup and recovery, disaster recovery, SAP services, banking compliance solutions, managed security, information preservation and virtual GPU-powered desktops—all offered on As-a-Service model, ensuring that all our customers’ IT needs are addressed.
What other data center park will go live this year?
The first building in our Greater Noida (Delhi-NCR) will go live for customer operations in July 2022, in a record time of less than 18 months. Once completed, it will have a capacity of 30 MW IT Load. Recently, we also announced the beginning of construction of additional two data center buildings at the same campus, each with 30 MW IT load. They will be ready to serve customers by January 2024.
Overall, our Greater Noida data center park consists of 6 interconnected data center buildings offering 30,000 racks capacity powered by more than 250 MW of power.
What are Yotta’s plans and focus areas for the near future?
We have a robust pipeline of investments in terms of both infrastructure and solutions. Apart from our Greater Noida data center park, we will also set up a facility in Chennai on a 13-acre campus, this will host four data center buildings with a capacity of 20,000 racks and a total power load of approximately 150-240MW.
Additionally, we have our upcoming facilities in Kolkata and GIFT City Gandhinagar, Gujarat and additional data centers in strategic hubs of Mumbai. Furthermore, we will be building a strong network of edge data centers across various regions in the country to ensure last-mile penetration.
Yotta continues to focus on providing hyperscale data center infrastructure and managed services to customers across enterprises and the public sector. Our plan will be to continue to build global data centers leveraging economies of scale and transferring the cost benefits to our customers by providing them with top-notch digital infrastructure and services at competitive prices.
Does India have what it takes to be the data center hub of the world? Or, will it remain solely the preferred destination for South Asia?
Marking tremendous growth year on year, India’s data center industry truly has transformed in recent times. Just about five years ago, data center development in the country was confined to individual data center buildings. Even a 1000-rack data center with 6MW of power was considered a large facility, indicating the scale of the Indian data center industry then.
However, today we are building data centers that are five times bigger, and this scale only will increase going forward. Data centers in India no longer are being talked about in terms of buildings, instead the references now are to massive data center parks with multiple data center buildings. The Indian data center industry is expected to grow two-fold to 1,007 MW by 2023, from its existing capacity of 447MW, according to a JLL report.
A tremendous amount of data is generated, consumed, stored and processed, thanks to adoption of emerging technologies like AI/ML and IoT and their growing use cases. This coupled with the push for data localization will spur the need for robust hyperscale data center campuses across the country.
Additionally, Singapore’s moratorium on data center development will significantly affect the region’s data center industry, especially India. India’s proximity to other Asian markets also plays a key role. Chennai, particularly is seen as a big beneficiary due to several factors – being a submarine cable landing station, proximity to South East Asian countries and expansion of leading Internet Exchanges.
India was already an underserved market. Thus, an underserved market coupled with a huge upcoming demand indicates the demand for large-scale, high-quality, power-efficient data center capacities in India, which attract multiple new players. As a result, we already are witnessing the influx of new, big corporate players in the Indian data center industry. These trends suggest that the next few years are crucial to defining the success story of India as a data center hub of the APAC.