Sunil Khanna Issue: India 2015
Article no.: 9
Topic: Modular Data Centres: A cost effective and scalable solution the for Telecom Industry
Author: Sunil Khanna
Title: President
Organisation: Emerson Network Power Systems, India
PDF size: 386KB

About author

Sunil Khanna is the President and Managing Director of Emerson Network Power in India. He was appointed to the role in September 2012, moving over from his previous responsibility as Managing Director of the Emerson Process Management business in India.
Sunil’s primary focus at Emerson Network Power is to lead the organization to drive growth and profitability in line with Emerson’s strategic direction and business ethics. He is also tasked with the responsibility of organizational development and talent management in order to sustain long term growth and enhance the company’s competitive edge in the market place.
An integral part of Emerson’s growth story in India over the years, Sunil has been a strong advocate for the customer and is actively involved in Industry-Academia initiatives. He is one of the Founding members of the Automation Industry Association and has led the trade-body in the role of President from 2008 to 2010. He was also elected a Member of CII National Executive Council in 2009-2010. Currently he is a Member of the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) and CII Western Zone Council on Green Initiative & Employable Education.
Sunil had joined Emerson Process Management in India in 2004 and was appointed MD in 2006. Prior to joining Emerson, he was engaged with ABB India and held various leadership positions including vice president – automation technology. He has a cumulative experience of over 30 years in the Industrial and IT sectors. Sunil also has vast international work experience including postings in Singapore, Indonesia, UK and USA.
Sunil holds a Master of Technology (M. Tech) in Electrical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur and a Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) also in Electrical Engineering from IIT-BHU, Varanasi. He additionally has a Graduate degree from the Emerson Leadership Program.
Sunil is based in the company’s India headquarters in Thane, Maharashtra.

Article abstract

Modular datacentres are now proving to be a viable proposition for virtually any industry—including and especially telecommunications, where speed of deployment is paramount. 

Full Article

Evolving at a speed faster than sound (and now focusing on video!), the telecommunications sector has played a vital role in ushering India’s digital revolution. Considered as the backbone of industrial and economic development, the industry has been aiding cost effective communications with its delivery of voice and data services at a rapid pace. India’s telecom sector has seen an unprecedented growth over the past decade on account of regulatory liberalization, structural reforms and competition. Today, expectations are high from the vertical as the NDA led government has renewed its focus on e-governance and sets its target of making India digital by 2019, with emphasis on connecting the remotest of villages via broadband. Clearly, the Digital India initiative has the potential to become the largest of its kind of rural broadband connectivity project in the world through optical fibre.
The India scenario
India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market and has registered exceptional growth in recent years. The contribution of a mobile ecosystem to the nation’s GDP is staggering. In fact a recent report released by GSMA in collaboration with BCG postulates that the mobile-savvy economy will contribute approximately US$ 400 billion to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). This, coupled with the growth in the smartphone penetration and exponentially rising internet usage will result in majority of the users turning online, churning large amounts of data which will have to be managed in an orderly and systematic fashion with a datacentre. In the years to come, as mobile device users grow, expansion of data storage capacity must keep pace in order for telecommunications companies to stay competitive.
Modular Datacentres and their relevance for Telecom companies
Increasingly, the boundaries between telecommunications and IT industries are converging as voice, video, data and even app-based services are being routinely consumed on the same device. Depending on the volume, telecom companies will need to add storage space on a regular basis to ensure that there is enough space for existing data as well as new data which is fed in the system.
This is where a new trend has been observed in the management and design of a datacentre, which sees more telecom players focusing on modular datacentres. While the concept of modularity isn’t new, its application with respect to designing and building data centres has only taken hold in the IT industry in the last few years. A modular datacentre provides cost and energy efficient datacentre space with a rapid deployment timeframe. Apart from speed of deployment, there are quite a few other business cases for modular structures, including the need for reducing capex and ensuring a positive energy footprint for their datacentres. Modular datacentres are now proving to be a viable proposition for virtually any industry—including and especially telecommunications, where speed of deployment is paramount.

The business case for modular datacentres
Modular datacentres are characterized by fully customizable, freestanding facilities that leverage the efficiencies of integrated design and prefabrication without limiting flexibility. They represent a radically different – faster way to build a datacentre, and can be built at a lower cost than traditional construction practices thus allowing organizations to realize the strategic scalability and financial benefits that such an approach can offer. Traditional datacentres usually lack in capacity planning and scalability; as it is also coupled with high cost and higher construction timeframe. Modular solutions address these challenges in a cost effective and greener way. The designs help in minimizing water, energy use and building costs, while increasing computing capacity, software capabilities and server utilization. No wonder, we see a majority of telecom companies globally are now looking at deploying more sustainable, state-of-the-art and greener data centres since financial savings are a strong reason to go green. Many companies are gradually coming to accept the fact that energy-efficiency improvements are a sure shot way to reduce operational costs. The modular data centre design enables telecom companies to gain a stronger handle on their bottom line by anticipating costs more accurately thus reducing overheads for capex required for building a datacentre from scratch. This ultimately translates to lower costs to their customers, which is always good news for business.

Utilizing some form of modularity can further assist in driving down anticipated overall costs including cooling of huge datacentres (which by traditional estimates accounts to about 30% of the overall energy requirement). Companies can save costs by modularizing mechanical and/or electrical infrastructure. A key aspect is keeping up with the speed of data transmission which is important to any telecom data centre. Having additional planned electrical capacity will allow facility operators the luxury of staying current without losing efficiency benefiting customers. Prefabricated structures also aid telecom industry in lowering total cost ownership and maximize efficiency as they represent a complete solution that includes racks, power band cooling systems, security and monitoring arrangements from deployment. As the units can be tailored to suit the needs of the customer, they are a more cost effective and a fitting solution in comparison to a permanent datacentre structures which would need telecom service providers to incur high mantainence costs, with the burden falling on the customers again.

Conclusion
As we keep flying higher into “the cloud”, it’s hard to completely understand what the future of data centre will look like. Having an option driven by modularity that will allow for consistency and scalability, is paramount with transitioning to these future requirements. The opportunities for the sector is dependent on how effectively the telecommunications vertical is able to transition to a new breed of datacentres that are based on flexible and cost effective designs. As more customers seek technologies and solutions that allow for a reduced environmental impact, modular data centres will present an attractive solution to telecom companies. Modular Datacentres will play a huge role in this change and the widespread adoption of technologies will see the data centre community developing new technologies to handle the additional demands of data-hungry consumers.