Press Release

Charting India’s Data Center Odyssey: Trends, Milestones, and the AI Revolution in 2024

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Piyush Somani, Founder, CMD, and CEO, ESDS


  1. What are some of the key trends that you see that are going to dominate the data center market in 2024?

A:            India’s data center future is defined by sustainability, innovation, and growth. The increasing awareness on environmental consciousness is driving the shift towards greener, more sustainable solutions. Here are some key trends I have observed:

  • Sustainability First: The data centre sector is increasingly being influenced by environmental awareness. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are gaining traction as primary power sources for data centers, leading to reduced carbon footprint and operational costs. Additionally, government regulations are simplifying the procurement of clean energy, paving the way for the emergence of green data centers.
  • Edge Computing on the Rise: The need for compact data centres in remote areas is rising, with edge facilities, typically housing 100-200 racks serving tier-2 and tier-3 cities, towns, and even villages. This trend is driven by the expanding internet user base and the proliferation of internet-of-things (IoT) devices. Defence sectors are also adopting portable data centers for on-site data processing near border areas.
  • Market Boom: The Indian data center market is experiencing phenomenal growth. Factors like smart metering initiatives, large-scale IoT deployments, and the burgeoning banking sector’s reliance on cloud storage are creating an upsurge in data storage requirements. There is a substantial increase in the need for data centre capacity.
  • AI and Beyond: Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) are pushing the boundaries of data processing. The compute-intensive nature of these technologies necessitates powerful hardware like GPUs and TPUs, further amplifying the need for robust data center infrastructure.
  • 5G Reshaping the Landscape: The advent of 5G has revolutionized data consumption patterns. With users averaging a soaring 25-30 GB of monthly data from the earlier 2 GB, the demand for data center capacity has skyrocketed. Additionally, the adoption of hybrid cloud solutions is placing further more pressure on existing data center resources.
  1. What factors are driving the projected growth of the India Data Center Market, with a focus on digital transformation and renewable energy integration?

A:            The rapid adoption in 5G technology has catapulted monthly data usage from 2GB to an average of 25GB per user in India. This surge in data consumption coincides with India’s achievement of surpassing one billion smartphone users, reflecting a significant milestone in digital penetration. Additionally, Indian banks are witnessing an unparalleled level of compute usage due to the immense volume of UPI transactions, potentially surpassing the combined activity of numerous European countries, necessitates substantial processing capabilities. With data demands constantly on the rise, the need for sustainable solutions becomes paramount. Embracing renewable energy sources like solar and wind power becomes crucial for data centers. This shift ensures environmental responsibility while addressing the industry’s growing power requirements.

  1. What milestone is India’s data centre capacity expected to achieve in 2024, according to recent projections?

A:            The Indian data centre landscape is on a fast track towards remarkable growth. My observations reveal a significant milestone being crossed: reaching a data centre capacity of 1 Gigawatt. This achievement signifies a significant milestone in India’s data centre industry, reflecting a journey that has spanned over two decades. While it took 20 years to progress from 0 to 1 gigawatt, the trajectory to scale from 0 to 10 gigawatts will be accomplished within a maximum of 8-9 years. Looking ahead, the ambitious target of reaching ten gigawatts marks the next pivotal milestone in the evolution of India’s data centre landscape, expected to materialize within the foreseeable future.

  1. With increase adaptation of cloud environment what are your suggestions to ensure the protection of customer data? What measures are taken at organisation to ensure for the safety?

A:            In today’s data-driven world, ensuring the security of sensitive information remains a paramount concern. While the prominence of cloud service providers is undeniable, a crucial aspect often receives insufficient attention. Unfortunately, amidst the prominence of brand names and logos, many overlook the importance of data protection. Neglecting backups, failing to implement business continuity plans (BCP), and underestimating security measures can have dire consequences. Shockingly, up to 35% of organizations that experience data loss end up permanently shutting down. Hence, it’s crucial for organizations to meticulously assess their security needs.

Maintaining data within India, utilizing Indian IP addresses and encryption, or implementing proprietary encryption methods are vital steps. Contracts should be directly signed with Indian service providers to ensure legal recourse in case of security breaches. A robust cybersecurity framework is essential, including updated firewalls, Web Application Firewalls (WAF), DDoS protection, and Security Operations Center (SoC) services. Harnessing autonomous technologies and implementing comprehensive end-to-end cybersecurity measures are vital for upholding data integrity and confidentiality.

  1. What is role of AI in the cloud industry and how is it changing the work dynamics?

A:            As a researcher actively pursuing a PhD in AI, I am constantly captivated by the immense potential this field holds. Daily breakthroughs and advancements fuel my fascination with its transformative capabilities. Future beckons, where AI plays a central role in transforming data center services. We are on the cusp of witnessing fully automated data centers, autonomous cloud infrastructure, and self-healing virtual machines and containers. These advancements will revolutionize how data centers and cloud services are delivered to consumers. Moreover, AI is not just shaping the backend infrastructure; it is also becoming increasingly integrated into consumer applications. While chatbots like ChatGPT are currently prevalent, we are swiftly progressing towards a realm where AI-generated content, will become the norm. The impact of AI extends beyond digital interactions. The integration of AI and machine learning in autonomous vehicles is set to redefine transportation. In the future, it’s conceivable that every individual, regardless of their background, will have their own AI assistant guiding them through daily tasks, providing feedback, and even emotional support. The prospects afforded by AI are genuinely staggering, continuously igniting my passion and inspiration.

  1. How does the launch of AI-oriented colocation services highlight the significance of AI in determining data center infrastructure capital expenditure?

A:            My observations indicate a forthcoming transformation in the Indian data center industry, driven by two intertwined forces: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the proliferation of powerful computing hardware like Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). At ESDS, we’ve witnessed an impressive journey from 0 to 1 gigawatt in the span of two decades. With AI at the helm, we anticipate the possibility of surging from 1 to 10 gigawatts within a maximum of 8 years, if not sooner.

The pivotal role of AI in fostering growth, particularly in achieving a 13-14% GDP growth rate annually, cannot be overstated. Without harnessing AI technology, surpassing the American GDP within the next 25 years would be an immense challenge for India. However, the widespread adoption of AI will significantly elevate the power consumption of data centers due to the substantial energy demands of GPUs. The need for efficient cooling solutions for GPUs and TPUs, alongside the imminent arrival of quantum computing and quantum-safe encryption technologies, will further escalate power requirements.

In the foreseeable future, we can expect the emergence of expansive data centers in India, potentially housing a single location with a power capacity of one gigawatt. India signifies the nation’s commitment to embracing technological advancements.