India’s data center sector is experiencing vigorous growth due to digitization, says Mohammed Atif, Director, Business Development India, Park Place Technologies

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India's data center sector is experiencing vigorous growth due to digitization, says Mohammed Atif, Director, Business Development India, Park Place Technologies
India's data center sector is experiencing vigorous growth due to digitization, says Mohammed Atif, Director, Business Development India, Park Place Technologies

Sustainability within data centers has emerged as a pressing concern due to surging digital technology usage, leading to heightened energy consumption and carbon emissions.

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Editor at CIO News with Mohammed Atif, Director, Business Development India, Park Place Technologies.

In recent years, the Indian Data Center (DC) industry has witnessed rapid expansion. What according to you are the key factors that are driving this industry’s growth?

Data centers have exhibited impressive growth in both developed and emerging nations, driven by enterprises’ increasing willingness to invest in modern data storage and deployment facilities. India’s data center sector is also experiencing vigorous growth due to digitization. While there are several factors that contribute to this growth, some of them are:

  • Expanding digital economy: India’s digital economy is rapidly growing, accelerated by the rise of e-commerce, fintech, and other online businesses. To support the substantial amount of data generated by these industries, there is a need for data centers.
  • Increasing smartphone penetration: According to a Deloitte report, it is expected that there will be one billion smartphone users in India by 2026. This surge in adoption rates indicates the rise of the digital economy which subsequently will contribute to the growth of data centers.
  • Strategic geographical position: India’s strategic location within the Asia-Pacific region enhances its attractiveness for data center establishment. Its sizable and expanding population presents a substantial market, coupled with well-established connectivity to neighbouring countries.
  • Government policies, initiatives, and incentives: Government policies and incentives have driven the development of the data center industry in India. Favourable tax structures and simplified setup procedures exemplify the government’s support. Additionally, the Digital India campaign, launched by the government, is accelerating the adoption of technology and internet services throughout the nation. This increased demand for data centers is a direct result of their essential role in storing and processing data.

Sustainability is touted to be a key focus for the industry. How seriously is the DC ecosystem working towards this? What is Park Place Technologies’ contribution to promote sustainability in its operations?

Sustainability within data centers has emerged as a pressing concern due to surging digital technology usage, leading to heightened energy consumption and carbon emissions. Different stakeholders in the industry are increasing their efforts to enhance data center efficiency, curtail energy use, and transition towards renewable energy sources. This sustainability drive remains a focal point for numerous companies and organisations.

At Park Place Technologies, our commitment to sustainability extends through our IT services and participation in the IT circular economy. We are dedicated to driving positive change by incorporating sustainability into our operations and collaborating with clients, partners, and supply chains. We offer technology-driven solutions to support sustainability journeys.

We value the reduction of IT waste and its positive ecological impact. To achieve this, we offer IT services aligned with the ‘Three R’s’ model:

  • Re-use: We prolong the life of existing IT hardware through post-warranty and End of Service Life (EOSL) support. For hardware upgrades, our Curvature Hardware division provides pre-owned alternatives.
  • Reduce: Our IT Asset Disposition service ensures the secure and ethical disposal of data center equipment, minimising waste.
  • Recycle: Unwanted equipment finds new purpose in the maintenance, hardware brokerage, used hardware supply, and recycling markets.

How does Park Place Technologies help its customers with network optimization?

Park Place Technologies’ services and products encompass every stage of the IT lifecycle, starting from procurement and extending all the way through decommissioning. By leveraging this comprehensive portfolio, IT teams can streamline their IT lifecycle management processes. We not only provide technical solutions but also valuable resources, enabling IT teams to channel their efforts towards innovation and future-focused initiatives rather than routine maintenance.

The integration of our network performance software, analytics capabilities, and advanced AI-driven monitoring of network performance helps enhance network stability, ensure efficient performance, and allow for real-time monitoring and assessment of network components. This enables us to identify potential vulnerabilities or bottlenecks and address them proactively, thereby optimising network performance.

How do you perceive the integration of network management tools with other emerging technologies such as AI and ML in data centers, and what benefits can enterprises gain from this approach?

The integration of network management tools with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) holds immense potential for data centers. This synergy enables data centers to operate smarter, faster, and more efficiently, fostering a range of benefits for enterprises.

By combining network management tools with AI and ML, data centers can achieve proactive monitoring and predictive analysis. AI-powered algorithms can identify patterns, anomalies, and potential issues in real-time, allowing for prompt mitigation and reducing downtime risks. ML, on the other hand, learns from historical data to enhance decision-making accuracy and optimise network performance.

As data centers increasingly interconnect, how can companies ensure the security of their systems and networks?

Effective network security begins with comprehensive knowledge of the network’s architecture and connected devices. To establish a robust security framework, companies must start with an accurate network diagram and inventory, fostering effective asset tracking and threat mitigation.

Embracing the principles of zero trust, companies transcend traditional network boundaries, prioritising least privilege and dynamic risk assessment. However, monitoring encrypted traffic can be intricate; the decision to decrypt should be weighed cautiously due to potential data exposure.

Various technologies play pivotal roles: cloud access security brokers (CASBs) manage app access and anomalies, while extended detection and response (XDR) solutions amalgamate endpoint data for potent threat identification. DNS filtering and firewalls bolster protection by limiting access and offering intrusion prevention.

Central to this strategy is security monitoring through skilled analysts who decipher telemetry for threat recognition. Collaboration with managed security services providers (MSSPs) or internal training enhances threat detection capabilities. A successful network defence strategy requires holistic security operations, including regular testing. Teams must design resilient systems that can be patched or updated swiftly without disrupting business applications or critical workloads.

How can the industry address the skill gap that exists in the DC industry in India?

The data center industry in India is growing rapidly, driven by the increasing demand for cloud computing, big data, and digital transformation initiatives. As a result, the talent race in this industry is also intensifying as companies compete to attract skilled professionals to meet the growing demand for their services. The scarcity of skilled data center professionals in India poses a significant challenge for the industry. Companies are looking for skilled data center engineers, project managers, network administrators, and security professionals, among others.

To address this talent gap, organisations should focus on reskilling and upskilling their employees to meet the required skills. It is important for companies to invest in training programs. In addition, industry and academia should collaborate to craft a targeted curriculum that not only imparts technical knowledge but also nurtures essential soft skills. This integrated approach can better equip individuals with the required skill sets and adaptability for a rapidly evolving job landscape. Encouraging the young talent pool to explore and embrace viable careers in data center management and tech fields could serve as a catalyst, driving greater awareness, elevated interest, and increased participation in shaping the future of the industry.

What is the future of Park Place Technologies in India? How do you see it grow in the next five years?

Park Place Technologies is committed to expanding its footprint in the country and leveraging the rising market potential. This could include additional storage locations, offices, and investments in trained engineers. Exploring collaborations and partnerships with local firms and technology providers is also on the agenda to elevate service offerings and cater more effectively to Indian clientele.

Considering the current market trend, Park Place Technologies’ plan for India is to focus on IT infrastructure life cycle optimization. As the region is price sensitive, we are focusing on cost optimisation as well, continuing to deliver 30–40% savings from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) pricing to our clients.

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