Feature

Rise of India’s Datacenter Man

From founding India’s first indigenous Datacenter Company to pioneering the Tier 4 Datacenter in Asia, CtrlS founder Sridhar Pinnapureddy has come a long way from the humble beginnings to establishing a multinational, multi-million dollar enterprise. Now, with the Community Cloud as the new feather in his hat, the innovative entrepreneur is set to take his company to next phase of success.

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“The role models for me were not people but great datacenters around the world. They were like temples for me”

Sridhar Pinnapureddy
Founder and CEO
CtrlS Datacenters

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CtrlS has been at the forefront of the Enterprise IT revolution in India, emerging as the leader in the datacenter outsourcing and cloud market. Apart from being India’s first and biggest datacenter company, the organization already has a strong positioning with a customer base of some of the largest Indian enterprises as well as a number of Fortune500 companies from around the globe. There are plans to expand to more than 40 geographies in the coming years as well establishing presence across verticals in the coming years. Energetic and enthusiastic, Sridhar Pinnapureddy opens up on his journey from the humble beginning to creating Asia’s first Tier 4 Datacenter, and his plans with his new venture, the Community Cloud which has already started gaining traction with successful customers in sectors like Banking and Government.

Founding a Datacenter Company

A veteran of the IT industry for over 20 years, Sridhar has seen the industry landscape change very closely. In the early days of his career, he developed his skill in streams like IT consulting, application development, product development as well as internet services for the first ten years.  He founded CtrlS when he witnessed a transition in the data center industry. Sridhar shares, “So ten years ago, with the drop in bandwidth prices, availability of smartphones and 4G across the spectrum, connectivity dramatically improved. It occurred to me that data centers can no longer just be internet data centers but will transform into enterprise Datacenters where core business applications like ERP & Banking can be run out of the datacenters. Running applications from a Datacenter is a lot more effective proposition be it in terms of cost, higher uptime or availability. The thought of enterprise Datacenters excited me. I knew that it would be a reality in the coming time and would add a ton of value to the customer. The ecosystem was ready for it to be successful. That empowered me to start CtrlS.”

Surviving Competition and Making it Big

Starting out with India’s first datacenter company was no cakewalk by any measure. The early years at CtrlS had been tough with no initial takers of the outsourcing services. Sridhar recollects, “Ten years ago when I went out and talked about outsourcing, I had no takers. Even as latest as 5 years ago, there were no takers for either cloud or outsourcing,” However, some of CtrlS’ initial offerings did succeed in hitting the spot and were tremendous successes for the organization. The CtrlS Disaster Recovery product was an outright success, so much so that it forced the entire industry to follow suit and launch similar products and services. “DR is a prime example and there are others like the Community Cloud. These individual success stories have made it possible for us to reach where we are today.”

“Our product had to be of a much better quality than that of anybody else in the industry. That’s how Tier 4 came into being.”

In fact, CtrlS had a lot more to do than the competition, as Sridhar continues, “They were all big brands, and not only in India but they were the world’s biggest, the goliaths of the industry. There was no way that a startup from Hyderabad could win a customer, doing business the same way as these big brothers.” With odds stacked against CtrlS, Sridhar and his team came up with a strategy different than the competitors, a threefold strategy which Sridhar likes to call Win-Win-Win. This strategy, that CtrlS took to heart and continues to adhere even today has been responsible for some of the biggest feathers in the organization’s hat including the world’s first Tier 4 Datacenters. “Our product had to be of a much better quality than that of anybody else in the industry. That’s how Tier 4 came into being. Then we set a parameter that our cost cannot be more than the competition. We took extra measures to contain our costs, hence our investment in better energy efficiency and the way we built our Community Clouds.” This going the extra mile for efficiency, as Sridhar reiterates, has been key to CtrlS being able to offer better pricing than competition even with more advanced and dependable Tier 4 datacenters and highest redundancy in cloud infrastructure. The third string of the Win-Win-Win strategy at CtrlS is flexibility for business adding to customer value. In this regard Sridhar explains, “Most of the competition is large companies, which are basically monoliths that don’t adjust easily according to the customer needs. When the customer is also a monolith, then this problem gets multiplied. On the other hand our offering, Cloud sourcing is not like a onetime license procurement. You go shared but it’s in essence like establishing a family where you depend on the family members on a day-to-day basis. It’s more of establishing partnerships than vendor customer relationships. So the flexibility we bring in makes it a triple win for us as well as our customers.”

This win-win-win strategy has worked well for CtrlS; well being an understatement. Today, more than one third of India’s top hundred organizations, one sixth of the global Fortune500 and market leaders across verticals are CtrlS customers.

CtrlS currently has four datacenters in India with two more in the pipeline for next year. In picture: Hyderabad Datacenter

The Inspiration behind the success

With Sridhar, the approach to inspiration depends on where exactly a person is looking to the inspiration to use, “Most of us have one role model, but somehow I have different role models for different aspects of my life. When I think about creating a product, Steve Jobs comes to mind. When it comes to being a modern entrepreneur, I look at the maker of these new age electric cars, Elon Musk. Similarly, when I started CtrlS, the role models for me were not people but great datacenters around the world. They were like temples for me and I found some reason or the other to visit them, learn from them and then do more by customizing their innovations for the Indian market.” The result is out of this too shape in form of the state of the art CtrlS Datacenters.

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