Data Center

200 NOT OUT THE ‘GREEN MAN’ OF INDIAN DATACENTER INDUSTRY

Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder & CEO, CtrlS Datacenters

It is estimated that 90% of world’s data has been generated in the last two to three years. There has been an explosion of data attributed to internet penetration in the form of broadband, wireless internet, rapid social media adoption, smartphones acting as an integrated device comprising of camera, internet access, email communication etc.

Businesses have been rapidly deploying new technologies that require enormous amounts of computing power, they include IT software, IT infrastructure, storage devices, networking com- ponents as they increasingly have customer facing applications such as internet banking, ecommerce, e-gov initiatives etc. connecting customers, suppliers and other ecosystem partners through networking tools and technologies.

The introduction to newer technologies such as internet of things (IoT) has led to billions of sensors being deployed at the edge leading to explosion of data capture across electricity meters, drainages, shops, cars. Trucks, water meters, refrigerators, air-conditioners generating data every millisecond, which need to be captured and analysed. Big data, robotic process automation, business analytics, artificial intelligence, machine/ deep learning, digital twins, augmented reality, virtual reality are all technologies leading to growth of data.

All such applications and infrastructure are hosted in data centers across the world. Datacenter are now the nerve centers of world economy. While they power businesses, governments and economies they are reportedly consuming around anywhere between 3-5% of global energy while also contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions. India is one of the largest democracies with mobile user base exceeding 1.1 billion, and smartphone base over 700 million, while social media users are estimated to be around 500 million and above.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitization in the country accelerating the growth of third-party data centers in India. The total datacenter footprint in the country is estimated at 6.8 million equipped with approximately 700 MW of power. The players in Indian datacenter market include CtrlS Datacenters, NTT, STT, Sify among others. CtrlS led by its founder Sridhar Pinnapureddy has been set several benchmarks in the industry by introducing India’s 1st Tier-4/ Rated-4 datacenter in the country, building Asia’s largest Rated-4 datacenter in the country, launching Asia’s largest Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) in Mumbai. Sridhar has been the brain behind 200+ innovations at CtrlS of which 80 innovations were focused on energy efficiency and sustainability.

B.S.Rao, Vice President Marketing, CtrlS Datacenters says, “Sridhar is highly focused on carbon emissions. He is a 24X7 thinking mind with utmost focus on sustainability. Be it water conservation, conservation of nature, planting trees, adoption of low energy consuming computing devices, management and re-use of e-waste, elimination of plastic. He is an innovator, always thinking ahead of time.”

The energy efficiency innovations led by Sridhar has led to industry lowest PUE of 1.35. His innovative thinking led to building India’s first and perhaps one of the world’s first datacenter being covered by solar panels on its exterior with an installed capacity of 1.3 MW generating 1.8 million units of power per year. It helps in offset- ting CO2 emission by 620 Tons/Year. The com- pany is in the process of building a 500-acre solar plant generating solar power ranging between 300 to 500MW and plans to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and run 85% of its power requirements through renewable energy.

The company’s Bangalore data center has 30 KW solar plant operational and is playing a key role in reducing carbon footprint through renewable energy.

Sridhar encouraged his team to focus on how the computer, electrical, lighting and mechanical systems can be designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. His team at CtrlS embarked on energy saving initiatives such as highly efficient power servers and supplies, low power consuming processors, server virtualization, best cooling practices, chiller plant manager, VFDs for all HVAC equipment variable Cooling System, CTI approved cooling towers. on-line monitoring and auto chemical dosing to avoid increase in approach of chillers , eco-mode UPS for all mechanical systems, HT dual source automation, 100% LEDs across all data centers, usage of motion sensors, hot/cold Aisle Containment, blanket panels, supplemental cooling, elimination gaps in rows, efficient airflow management for high/low density areas, seal cable cut-outs. He and his team further focused on storage optimization strategies such as usage of energy efficient storage devices, data de-duplication, data compression, load balancing, dynamic provisioning, reducing power density requirements, eliminating redundant data etc. Eighty such innovations today have led to low power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.35. The company has inculcated a culture of going through Ashrae audits regularly to identify glaring areas of energy inefficiency and enhance its energy efficiency processes.

One of the other initiative under Sridhar was its Noida data center facility – perhaps one of the most unique facilities in the data center industry.

The entire national capital (NCR) region is faced with challenges of air pollution. However, presence of sulphur in the air across NCR and Noida has the potential ability to cause damage to computer hardware and malfunctioning of devices, as sulphur causes corrosion in metals. To solve this critical problem and safeguard the data of its customers, Sridhar encouraged his team to explore deployment of an air filtration plant. A successful proof-of-concept led to establishment of an air filtration plant at its Noida datacenter facility which processes the contaminated air, scrubs it and then releases clean air into the data centre, thereby ensuring all the servers, storage devices, networking components and other devices located within the facility are protected from such threats. The air is not just good for the IT infrastructure but also for human lungs. The air filtration plant is equipped with air scrubbers, +ve pressurized system along with treated fresh air system.

Siddharth Jain, Managing Director, EPI India says, “CtrlS is among the best data cen- ters in the country. It follows Rated-4 standards defined by ANSI/TIA-942 and complies with all its guidelines. It’s Noida data center is built to withstand earthquakes and contain air- pollution through its air filtration plant, which is safeguards IT infrastructure from corrosion is safe for human lungs.”

The company performs regular indoor air quality assessment at all its data centers to determine the presence of contaminants in any and test for mold, pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and more.

Sridhar has been tirelessly working on building green datacenters across India. As a matter of fact, today, CtrlS runs India’s largest number of rated-4 hyperscale green data centers certified by USGBC and has obtained LEED Platinum V4 O+M certifications reinforcing its commitment to sustainability. All of CtrlS data center buildings are constructed from blocks made from fly ash. It has been deploying eco-friendly organic chemicals with sophisticated online monitoring across its data center facilities in addition to an auto dosing system for cooling tower water treatment. Sridhar is working on how new methods, tools and processes can be introduced to reduce fossil fuels.

Gopalakrishnan, MD, GBCI – Southeast Asia & Middle East Markets added, “Sustain- ability is embedded in the DNA of CtrlS, a company led by Sridhar Pinnapureddy – ‘The Green Man of Indian Datacenter Industry’. The company is focused on best practices in energy management, good indoor air quality management, water conservation and efficiency management, waste management, etc. All CtrlS Rated-4 Hyperscale data centers are certified as LEED Platinum v4 O+M by GBCI, setting a benchmark for the data center industry both in India and around the world.”

CtrlS has storm water harvesting (70-90%) at all its data centers, recycling of water, setting up of STP/WTP for recycling, collaboration with community STP/ETP/WTP, Online monitoring and auto chemical dozing system at all DC’s to reduce the blow down water for HVAC systems, adoption of water consumption reduction technologies, usage of low flow plumbing fixtures, usage of dual flush WC, usage of waterless urinals.

Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO, CtrlS said, “At CtrlS, we care for planet earth. It is important that we leave behind a healthy planet for our future generations. As a responsible organization, we have embarked on 200 innovations combined with 25 green initiatives to reduce carbon footprint, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, eliminate wastage of water, become a paper- less office, achieve near 100% work from home powered by automation, eliminate usage of plastic and air pollution, recycle e-waste, save trees, and maximise usage of renewable energy.”

With future looking at autonomous cars, 100 tril- lion sensors likely to be deployed across the globe in next decade, worldwide social media base likely to cross 3.4 billion, 4.5 billion internet users, 5.3 bn mobile phone users the need for datacenters will continue to grow rapidly.

Therefore, responsible and visionary leaders such as Sridhar Pinnapureddy appear to be setting a precedent by taking the carbon emission problems by its horns and therefore it would only be fair to say a man who has steered 200+ innovations in technology and sustainability space be christened as the ‘The Green Man of Indian Datacenter Industry’. In conclusion, we must say that Sridhar is 200 not out and we are confident that his innovative mindset will continue to bring new ideas, processes, methods and tools to ensure the datacenters become greener and continue to limit and eliminate carbon footprint.

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