I’ve written a lot about the IT industry in India – I wrote a blog on IT outsourcing for two years at our sister publication, CIO.com – and clearly that country is focused on building out its tech infrastructure. So when I saw the news about the development of a 900,000 square foot data center in a four tower building that is designed to support up to 100 megawatts of power, it caught my eye. And according to the developers – Tulip Telecom Ltd., and IBM – this mega data center is the third largest in the world. \
You can check out this behemoth – the so-called Tulip Data City – by taking a virtual tour here.
The facility, in Bangalore, is designed to serve as a foundation for cloud services. It is a striking symbol of Tulip’s evolution from its beginnings as a wireless connectivity provider, to a telecom services provider with a fiber-optic data network that reaches more than 2,000 locations in India, and now to a more comprehensive provider of managed services and data centers.
There are plenty of wow factors – rainwater harvesting, numerous generators with 4 megawatts of capacity each, an anti-fire system, three large diesel tanks, a maze of underground cables, and more than 30 chillers on the roof for providing cooling. On the ground floor are 16 generators (four more are outside), a state-of-the-art network operations center (NOC) with an integrated management system, and office space with meeting rooms. One half of the ground floor is empty and ready to meet future needs.
The four tours are five floors each (starting at the second floor) and currently house 20 Enterprise Modular Data Centers. It is capable of supporting 14,000 racks, and each cold aisle area is self-contained to keep cooling most effective. There are numerous sensors and monitors for tracking air flow, temperature, humidity, pressure differentials and more.
Physical security is tight. There’s a 10-feet stone fence surrounding the facility, and on top of that fence there’s another 4-feet of electrical fence. There’s a gated entry for vehicles. Anybody coming into the facility must pass through metal detectors; there are also handheld scanners and explosives sniffers. RFID-enabled access systems are used, as are biometric scanners. There are 1500 cameras for round-the-clock, real-time surveillance.
Redundancy is impressive too. There are two UPS systems that get power from two different substations, including one in the front of the building, within the grounds.
The Tulip Data City is estimated to have cost more than $180 million (or Rs.900 crore), according to this article in Forbes India. The article reports that analysts expect the third-party data center market in India to grow at a compounded rate of between 25-30 percent over the next five years, and that reports also suggest Tulip is expecting a steady state revenue of about $190 million (Rs.950 crore) from the data center, which could happen in four years.