Data centers are crucial to commercial and governance activities in the information age. The role of data centers is expanding with the rapid digital transformation India is witnessing, especially post-pandemic: Many businesses shifted their applications and infrastructure to either cloud ecosystems or third-party colocation data centers. Taking cognisance, Big Tech has earmarked a significant outlay to build data centers in India.
Microsoft has cashed in on the opportunity and emerged as one of the leading providers of cloud infrastructure and services, globally. The tech giant has over 200 cloud data centers operating, including underwater data centers, across 34 countries. Microsoft entered the Indian data center market in 2015 and has three operational cloud regions in Mumbai, Chennai, and Pune. Speculations are rife that Microsoft is now contemplating installing a new data center in India.
Of late, Hyderabad has emerged as a hotspot for cloud service providers to set up data centers. Earlier, Amazon had pledged Rs 20,761 crore to build data centers in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, Microsoft is reportedly in talks with the Telangana government to set up a Rs 15,000-crore data center in the capital. According to Forbes, major Indian cities will see a rise in demand for data center space by around 15 to 18 million square feet (MSF), in the next five years.
Reports suggest Microsoft will execute the project in collaboration with Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure. “Microsoft will make an announcement on the project shortly. Discussions are underway, and I cannot make any comment as of now,” Telangana’s IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan, told AIM.
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Microsoft partners with Jio
India’s Personal Data Protection Bill has four stated objectives with respect to data localization: securing faster and better access to personal data for law enforcement; increasing economic growth and boosting employment; preventing foreign surveillance, and better-enforcing data protection laws. In 2019, Microsoft signed a deal with Reliance Jio with a bid to launch data centers across the country, in a record time.
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Microsoft has three cloud regions in India, with operational data centers catering to the Central, Western and Southern zones. With close to 700 million web users, India will need more data centers in the near future. According to a Crisil report, India’s data center market is likely to record a 25-30% compound annual growth rate to reach $5 billion by 2025.
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Google launched its second cloud region in New Delhi this year. Google now has 26 cloud regions, 79 zones, and 146 points of presence worldwide. The Google cloud regions serve as the deployment area for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) resources. Having a second cloud region makes it easier and faster for Indian startups, digital natives, and traditional enterprises to leverage Google Cloud on-demand network that is faster, reliable, and less expensive. It provides additional disaster recovery options for its customers within the country, delivers more choice for customers to store their data locally, enabling them to meet digital sovereignty requirements.
Also read: Google’s Second Cloud Region In India: Implications & Competition
Amazon announced its first data center in the Asia Pacific region of India in Mumbai, in 2016. Four years later, Amazon in 2020, announced the second AWS cloud region with an investment of $2.8 billion in Hyderabad. The project is scheduled for launch in 2022.
Microsoft is yet to announce its plans on the new project with the Telangana government.