‘We are aggressively expanding data centre business in India’

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on February 24, 2021

Sharad Sanghi, CEO, NTT

India is one of the fastest markets and growing annually at over 20% : Sharad Sanghi, CEO, NTT Ltd

NTT of Japan in September committed an investment of $2 billion in expanding its data centre (DC) footprint in India. And it is doing it swiftly. The latest is signing of an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up a DC with an investment of ₹1,377 crore. NTT is a leader in the Indian DC space with over 1.5 million sq ft in operation and 150 mw capacity spread over 10 DCs. “We are aggressively expanding our DC business in India as demand is to increase manifold in future,” said Sharad Sanghi, CEO, NTT Ltd, in an interview with Business Line. He shares more information on the company's DC footprint in the country. Excerpts:

What are the major factors driving demand for DC in India?

India is one of the fastest markets for DC and growing annually at over 20 per cent since 2015. NTT’s business is growing even at a faster rate as everything is moving into the cloud. The cloud service needs to be hosted in a DC. Data Localisation Bill mandates certain sensitive information and data to be hosted in India. DC business is also attracting a lot of foreign investments into India.

NTT, in September, committed an investment of nearly $2 billion. Could you share the company’s DC footprint, and how it is being expanded?

The $2 billion committed is for a period of four years. We are doubling the capacity across India in the next 2-3 years. We have totally taken nearly 100 acres of land in Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Greater Noida to set up DCs for storing thousands of servers and thousands of terabytes of data. This itself has cost several hundred million dollars. We have started work in Mumbai, Noida and Chennai, and will start in Bengaluru in April. Each DC will cost around $100 million.

Could you give details on the new DC project in Chennai for which you signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government recently?

Chennai’s biggest attraction is the landing of NTT's international fibre cable. Our DC strategy is to have it next to the landing point to help clients transfer to and from the country. We are a co-location service provider in Chennai. We have been in the city for nearly 10 years and understand the market. Our clients also want the DC to be near the landing point. The DC park is coming up in six acres to accommodate two DCs with a combined power capacity of over 50 MW. The construction of the first DC is expected to commence in March.

What is the status of the MIST undersea cable project?

NTT has also started construction of the 8,100-km long MIST undersea cable with a speed of 216 terabit and 12 fibre pair to land in Chennai and Mumbai to improve communication infrastructure between countries across the Indian ocean. Work on both the DC and fibre are being done parallelly, and both would go live in the second quarter of 2022. We have seen aggressive demand from our clients when we said we are going to have both.

How big is NTT’s operations in India?

Netmagic was acquired by NTT in 2012. NTT is among the top three players in undersea cable and DC, and largest telecom company. Recently, NTT has merged its India business with Netmagic, and from April it will be called NTT India (right now it is NTT Netmagic). NTT India has five areas of business — DC and co-location; cloud; network; managed services and system integration. About 6,000 employees are working in India with the overall business growing 17-18 per cent and is forecast to grow faster in the coming year. The DC business alone grew at 20 per cent.

Published on February 24, 2021

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