Action is heating up in India with the world’s top names like Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon queuing up to open data centres here. NTT Communications, the world’s largest data centre company and a unit of the $112-billion Japanese giant, NTT, also has mega plans in the country. On Wednesday, the company, which entered India in 2012 with the acquisition of Netmagic, opened its ninth facility spread over 3 lakh sq ft, the largest in the country, entailing an investment of Rs 700 crore. Tetsuya Shoji, president & CEO, NTT Communications, talks to Christoph Kober & Reeba Zachariah about the Indian data centre scenario. Excerpts:
What are the factors driving the Indian data centre space? Data centres are an important part of infrastructure. Several sectors are spurring growth, for instance, e-commerce. Also, a new set of banks is coming to play while the existing ones are becoming more aware of disaster recovery, resulting in them approaching data centres.
What challenges do you see? Securing reliable access to electricity is the biggest challenge. Other than Mumbai, power supply is a challenge in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Noida where we have our data centres. It is also an opportunity as people are unwilling to invest in fuel and generators to maintain their own data centres. And so, they are more likely to outsource the data centres to us.
Globally, NTT is No. 1 in data centres. How do you see yourself in India? It is important to be No. 1 but we are not pursuing only scale. We also consider quality to be important. We want customer satisfaction and we want to provide it at a price where we can make appropriate profits. Netmagic is the fastest growing company in India. We were No. 3 but today we are No. 2 – depends on how you judge. India is where we want to make strategic investments. The latest Mumbai facility is not the last. We plan to have three more data centres in the near future. Whether our growth strategy will be organic or through M&A is a matter of calculation and consideration.
The government has insisted on hosting data centres in the country as data sovereignty is a concern… Data sovereignty rules for some sectors are present almost everywhere in the world. In India, it is for some select sectors like banking wherein you have to host facilities within the country. In Indonesia, data centres for almost all sectors have to be within the boundary. One of the reasons why NTT recently made an acquisition there.
NTT has applied for a unified licence for national long-distance services in India. What are your plans? The licence has been applied by a separate Indian subsidiary of NTT. We want to provide a range of network services. Netmagic will continue to be carrier-neutral while customers that will be part of the new licence will be large Japanese clients.
How do you evaluate the Modi government? It is difficult to evaluate government policies. You tend to be impatient and want things quickly. We tend to do the same in Japan. There is a gap between our and the government’s pace. But we have to endure and be patient