Rohan Sheth interview

“Tier II and Tier III cities offer strategic advantage”

What advantage does an edge datacentre bring in terms of latencies and other operations?

Edge computing serves as a powerful solution for executing operations that demand extremely low latencies and flexible programming runtimes. By processing data closer to the data source, edge computing minimises the delays in data transmission, making it ideal for applications that require real-time responses.

For scenarios where operations have varying durations, the distributed nature of the edge datacentre allows tailored programming and execution time. This flexibility ensures that each operation can be optimised for its specific requirements, avoiding any unnecessary delays while maintaining efficient resource utilisation.

The newly introduced datacentre policy is also expected to expedite the provision of necessary infrastructure and approvals.

Edge computing’s ability to manage extreme latencies and accommodate diverse programming runtimes makes it a valuable tool offering substantial benefits to various industries. We are seeing edge datacentres enabling real-time applications like industrial automation, remote monitoring, or low-latency interactions in gaming and augmented reality. In Industry 4.0, real-time data processing at the edge allows for seamless automation and predictive maintenance and optimising various manufacturing processes. Smart factories also benefit from immediate data analysis, enhancing production line responsiveness and minimising downtime. Additionally, in content delivery, edge datacentres minimise data travel distances, ensuring faster and smoother content delivery, thus enhancing user experiences.

Does India have enough capacity for its data right now? What scale of increase is required?

The data localisation standards and the government’s recently unveiled datacentre strategy, designed to streamline regulations, are attributed to the growing favourability of India among major global datacentre operators. The newly introduced datacentre policy is also expected to expedite the provision of necessary infrastructure and approvals.

Industry reports suggest an evident gap between the existing datacentre capacity in India and the corresponding needs. According to a report by Avendus Capital, the installed datacentre capacity has grown to over 800 MW by the end of 2022. This marks a 48% increase compared to the 540 MW capacity recorded in 2019. With the increasing penetration of 5G enabled phones, combined with a huge appetite for data consumption, India needs to develop 15 times more datacentre capacity to address Digital India’s ever-increasing data storage needs.

Recognising the demands and prospects, we combined our in-house expertise in land and power to steadily bridge gaps through expansive hyperscale datacentre parks spanning the entirety of the country. Additionally, we boast a robust pipeline of edge datacentres nationwide, seamlessly complementing our hyperscale facilities. In line with this, Yotta aims to build four datacentre parks across the country over the next five to seven years, as part of our overall plan to bridge the digital divide and make India a USD 1 trillion digital economy. We have planned to deliver around 1000 MW of datacentre capacity across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi-NCR by 2030.

Does real estate cost also play a role in datacentres shifting to tier-II markets?

Setting up a datacentre involves significant expenditure, with a substantial portion dedicated to real estate acquisition and development, reflecting the crucial role of physical infrastructure in housing and operating datacentre facilities. As land costs remain comparatively lower across Tier II and Tier III cities, these regions offer a strategic advantage for expanding datacentre infrastructure while optimising operational expenses.

Yotta has plans to deliver around 1,000 MW of datacentre capacity across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi-NCR by 2030.

Additionally, state governments are also making considerable efforts to establish smaller edge datacentres near key Tier II cities. Several state administrations have implemented dedicated datacentre policies to harness this potential. For example, Karnataka provides incentives and exemptions to attract investments of around INR 100 billion, aiming to establish a datacentre sector boasting a capacity exceeding 200 MW by 2025. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh has unveiled its datacentre policy, with a target to attract investments worth INR 200 billion. These states exhibit remarkable growth potential and boast abundant land and skilled labour.

What kind of employment potential could such facilities offer?

Edge datacentre facilities have the potential to unlock significant employment opportunities in Tier II and Tier III cities across India. These facilities require both skilled and unskilled workforce for various roles, such as datacentre technicians, network engineers, security personnel, facility managers, and support staff. The establishment, maintenance, and operation of edge datacentres demand a range of technical expertise, including IT infrastructure management, network configuration, and cybersecurity. This creates a demand for locally sourced talent in these cities, contributing to job creation and skill development within the region.

Overall, the development of edge datacentres has the dual advantage of providing enhanced digital services to the people and businesses in these regions while simultaneously driving job growth and skill enhancement among the local population.

Rohan Sheth

Head – Datacentre & Colocation Services, Yotta

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