ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (India) Pvt Ltd, (STT GDC India), the Indian subsidiary of the Singapore-based STT GDC, will invest a billion dollars in India over the next 3-4 years to expand its data centres in the country, the company’s CEO, Sumit Mukhija, told businessline today.
The company, in which Tata Communications has 26 per cent stake, today has 300 MW of data centres, including 100 MW under construction. Mukhija said that the company will “double the capacity every four years, in the foreseeable future”. While most of the expansion will happen in nine big cities, the company will also step into Tier-2 cities.
A data centre is a specially-constructed building meant to house server banks. Such a building distinguishes itself from other buildings in terms of construction architecture (high ceilings, channels for cables), special chillers and redundancies for energy supply — separate substations and transformers. In the words of Mukhija, a data centre is a “place where you store, manage, process and disseminate data.”
The capacity of a data centre is measured in MW because power consumption represents capacity better than the space occupied or the capacity of the server banks.
Typically, a data centre would take about $7 million a MW to set up, not counting the cost of land and building, Mukhija said.
The Indian market for data centres is booming thanks to growing digitalisation of the economy. Every company needs a server bank, but few can afford to have it on their own premises.
STT GDC India, whose turnover was ₹1,837 crore in 2022-23, has 30 per cent share of the Indian market. The Indian market today is about 700 MW, but Mukhija expects it will grow beyond 1.5 GW in the next 3-4 years. There are around 35 companies in India offering data centres.
STT GDC India has decided to go into tier-2 cities both for cost-cutting as well as to be closer to customers there. The company will build “2-3 this year and 7-8 in the next 3 years,” he said.
The company began its innings in India as Tata Communications Data Centers Pvt Ltd, which was taken over by STT GDC, Singapore, a Tamasek-owned company, in 2016. The Singapore company bought 74 per cent stake in Tata Communications Data Centers Pvt Ltd and renamed it STT GDC India.
Server banks produce a lot of heat, which is why data centres need heaving chilling, leading to high power consumption. Thirty-six per cent of the energy that STT GDC India consumes comes from renewable sources and the company intends to raise this to 70 per cent in a few years. For the rest, the company may buying Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). For this, the company has invested in plants owned by renewable energy companies, O2 Energy and Avaada, for availing itself of power under the ‘group captive model’.