The Indian data center market has been experiencing huge growth over the past few years. As more companies are moving towards cloud and adopting hybrid or multi-cloud strategies, the data center market is expected to grow further in the coming years. However, there is a significant environmental impact of data centers working for any countries. The data center industry is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. So, there is a growing need for green or sustainable data centers in India. Western Digital is a leading provider of data center storage solutions and helping companies in reducing their energy consumption. Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, Digital Terminal held an exclusive chat with Mr. Khalid Wani, Senior Director, Sales, India, Western Digital. During the discussion, Khalid spoke about various aspects of data center market in India. Read the full conversation below:
Rajeev: In your viewpoint, how is the Indian data center market growing? What sort of trends do you observe that are driving this market?
Khalid: Today, the world produces and consumes an unprecedented quantity of data. According to projections, over the next three years up to 2025, global data creation is expected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes. One zettabyte is equal to a trillion gigabytes. The appetite for collecting and storing data in order to generate useful insights has increased significantly along with data production and usage. As a result, businesses must manage and keep more data.
A flexible, scalable, reliable, safe, and hardware-efficient storage architecture is more in demand as data volumes increase. India's data center capacity is anticipated to double, rising from about 870 MW in fiscal 2021 to over 1,700-1,800 MW by fiscal 2025.
One of the key things driving growth lies in government measures aimed at driving digital infrastructure development, including the Digital India initiative; classification of data centres as infrastructure assets, and proposing new data localization laws, all of which will drive the data center market in the country.
Rajeev: Why there is a need for green/sustainable data centers?
Khalid: When businesses begin operating in the metaverse, data requirements will increase, possibly aggravating the problem of electronic waste. Organizations will need to get ready for the next wave of digitization and storage requirements while putting sustainability first as the metaverse becomes more intertwined with the physical world.
The next question is where to store this massive quantity of data. In order to reduce the number of physical data centers, more local data centers may consider transferring their data to the cloud. Large cloud service companies are also making significant investments in sustainable energy sources. For instance, Microsoft and Google have committed to running their data centers entirely on carbon-free energy by 2025 and 2030, respectively. All of this causes businesses to be extremely conscious of the sustainability of their manufacturing practices.
Additionally, organizations are looking at HDDs with a higher capacity that offer a higher data density, enabling the expansion and efficiency of data centers. The OptiNAND technology, which optimizes the HDD with the incorporation of iNAND embedded flash, may be one of the most important developments in HDDs in recent years. For increased capacity, speed, and drive resiliency, this redesign of the hard drive architecture incorporates improved firmware and SoC innovations. Combining all of these advancements into a single device significantly boosts data storage capacity, reduces power consumption, and improves data resilience. Western Digital has achieved precisely that with the world’s highest capacity drive, the Ultrastar® DC HC570 22TB CMR drive, which is already shipping.
Rajeev: What are the new innovative alternative cooling technologies that enterprises can leverage to improve their datacenter sustainability to minimize their environmental impact?
Khalid: Data centers are among the biggest consumers of energy and power, and they also have the IT industry's fastest-growing carbon footprint. In fact, 45–50% of data centers' running costs are related to electricity. Western Digital is constantly innovating hard disk drives to help control energy consumption and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) factors. (HDDs).
One of the biggest developments for HDDs has been helium. Helium is seven times lighter than air, causing HDD platters to rotate with less drag and turbulence. It operates at cooler temperatures and, when sealed, leaves out moisture. Another significant development is energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR), which increases storage density by improving data placement accuracy on the disk, which raises tracks per inch (TPI) and bits per inch. (BPI). Denser storage means a smaller footprint.
The OptiNAND technology, which optimizes the HDD with the incorporation of iNAND embedded flash, may be one of the most important developments in HDDs in recent years. For increased capacity, speed, and drive resiliency, this redesign of the hard drive architecture incorporates improved firmware and SoC innovations.
Combining all of these advancements into a single device significantly boosts storage capacity, reduces power consumption, and improves data resiliency. Western Digital has done exactly that with the world’s highest capacity drives, the Ultrastar® DC HC570 22TB CMR drive, which is already shipping. The Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 JBODs will also come equipped with 22TB HDDs, providing the highest storage density in the industry of up to 2.244* petabytes of storage on a completely optimized platform for enhanced durability and data reliability for software-defined storage.
Rajeev: How is Western Digital positioned in the data center storage solution market? Please share your key product range for this segment.
Khalid: Western Digital is positioned as a leading provider of data center storage solutions. A data center's storage is basically its structural support. High-capacity hard drives, solid-state drives, and storage platforms made for cloud and big data environments are among the data center solutions that the company provides. One's ability to access data and derive insights for future invention, product design, financial decisions, and other equally crucial activities may be heavily dependent on one's ability to succeed in business. This is due to the exponential growth in the everyday quantity of data being collected.
The ability to unleash potential through data is the cornerstone of Western Digital's own invention. The rapid data growth in India is forcing data centers to flourish, making Western Digital's Ultrastar DC HC570 HDD essential. We are always looking for new ways to satisfy the capacity needs of the industry and support the evolving economics of data centers for years to come as a leader in storage innovation. The Ultrastar® DC HC570 22TB CMR drive, the world's biggest capacity drive, began shipping in the nation last year, adding to the ecosystem's expansion. At Western Digital, we approach everything with the belief that possibilities are created when human potential and digital innovation are combined. This possibility is made possible by a technology platform upon which the best new ideas in the world are being developed: intelligent gadgets powered by the cloud and linked by high-performance networks.
Furthermore, Western Digital is making advances not only in algorithms but also in motor and internal power supplies, which continue to reduce power consumption even as the capacity rises.
Rajeev: What kind of growth opportunities do you see currently for the brand?
Khalid: Enterprises are seeing their storage requirements explode, creating a need for more data centers. Taking a more sustainable approach to storage energy usage and reducing storage energy consumption can greatly contribute to an organization's success. As enterprises adapt to a shifting technology landscape, they will accelerate migration from captive to multi-tenant data centers. As a result, the data center industry is likely to witness increasing adoption of ‘As-a-service’ solutions by enterprises.
Additionally, there has been a significant push from the government when it comes to the data center market in India. The government of India recently announced an investment of INR three lakh crore in the data center ecosystem over the next five years. The Cabinet cleared the policy wherein states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana will have an exclusive policy for the sector. This policy makes it possible for more Indian states to build the infrastructure, which will accelerate the expansion of data centers across the nation.
There is no denying the fact that data centers are continuously expanding in both size and quantity; this growth is not expected to slow down any time soon.
Rajeev: What are your marketing plans and channel engagement activities lined up this year to propel the growth especially in the enterprise segment?
Khalid: Our channel partners are a natural extension of our company and are essential to its success. We are aware of the necessity and significance of honouring and rewarding their achievement. To inform and prepare our channel partners to take advantage of various market opportunities, we operate a variety of channel partner programs. In addition, we assist them in improving customer relations. In the consumer market, for instance, our SanDisk League of Heroes (SLH) program honors and rewards top channel partners, while our MyWD Partner reward program enables and motivates partners who sell storage drives, NAS, and surveillance/smart video solutions to achieve their goals and earn rewards through targeted initiatives on demand generation.
We also carry out targeted initiatives for our partners to better acquaint them with the goods. For growth in important channel networks like mobile, retail, IT, surveillance, and corporate channel networks, we have been consolidating and segmenting our channel partners over the years. In the future, we're dedicated to launching more initiatives and rewards programs to help our channel partners.