Mr. Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO, CtrlS Datacenters Ltd

Sridhar is a successful serial entrepreneur of technology and IT infra business. He is the founder, chairman and managing director of Rs. 750 Crore (EV) Pioneer Group. Under his leadership the group has been growing at more than 100% CAGR over the past 15 years. Regarded as the thought leader in the datacenter industry, Sridhar is credited with launching first Tier IV datacenter in India. He has changed the DC Market landscape in India by building a datacenter which can guarantee the highest availability and least energy consumption. His strong belief in the philosophy of “total ownership for consistent value addition to clients” is strongly imbibed in CtrlS as its brand core.

Sridhar spends most of his time with CtrlS customers to understand what works well with them and what might be improved upon. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Karmveer Purskar 2007 awarded by ICONGO, Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani by Global Economic Council and Best Entrepreneur of the year by ATA.

Excerpts from his conversation, where he discusses the future of cloud in India and how sharing space can add to organization’s savings

Q: What services/solutions does CtrlS provide and what is your USP in when it come to technology in the datacenter space?
A: CtrlS offer a range of services including Datacenter infrastructure as per tier 4 standards, IT infrastructure, Managed services, Generic Applications and Internet connectivity. By outsourcing IT to CtrlS, over 250 companies have increased the availability of their mission critical applications. This was possible mainly because CtrlS has committed over 400 crore in developing India's only tier 4 certified datacenters. Added to this, their "total ownership" approach ensure that customers’ expectations are met rather than the fine print of the contract.  I am very proud to say that CtrlS is also India’s first and only certified Tier IV Datacenter.

Q: What are the challenges that CIOs are facing when it comes to datacenters in this reviving economy?
A: Despite the higher confidence levels in the markets today, CIOs still face cost cutting challenges. Another problem area in IT and specifically in infrastructure management is that of manpower shortage – setting up and managing a data center calls for some specialized skills. Ensuring on-demand scalability as business grows and consolidating hardware resources only add to the pain points for CIOs.

Q:How are datacenters shaping up to cater to this demand?
The inherent disadvantages of running a captive data center (cost and complexity issues) are becoming more conspicuous, and simultaneously the perceived issues with outsourced datacenters (like security) are being addressed effectively. Managing a Tier IV data center, with all the requisite N+1 or 2N redundancy, physical and electronic security, provisioning for natural disaster, etc, is in itself a task. The quickest and cost effective way for businesses to expand their storage and compute needs is through the approach of outsourced or shared datacenter.

Q: How do you see the cost of shared data center services shaping up? Can we expect it to go lower?
A: Yes, the costs are bound to come down. Competition between different providers will pull the cost down, while the emergence of greater number of customers will still ensure that the business is profitable. A margin business will soon get converted into a volume business. And then there’s a bubble effect – the reduced cost will further drive adoption which in turn will create more players and increase competition. Simultaneously, the increased confidence will drive with the conservatives and skeptics to take to hosted datacenters. So yes, the cost of the hosting is definitely going to reduce.

Q: What are the next trends with datacenters?
A: Outsourced datacenters open a plethora of options. Customers can consider the options of pay per use or pay per transaction – a cloud model. Then there’s the green angle. Data centers consume huge amounts of power and it is only a matter of time before power becomes a bottleneck for expansion. While the possibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar and wind power in larger scales are being worked on, some companies are pushing the boundaries, quite literally, like setting up a datacenter in Iceland for efficient cooling.

Outsourced data centers are rapidly evolving – there’s a demand for them to. Outsourced datacenters offer a single shot solution to multiple problems, after all.

CtrlS has a DC Ready model (Data Center Ready) where by we help customers who are looking for a small scale data center to deploy one in their premises. For larger deployments, we offer them the option of placing their infrastructure on our racks and give them the power to scale up with minimum delay. This solves the scalability and consolidation issues for IT teams and their heads.

Q: Can you list some of the failsafe features that your datacenter has?
A: Ours is a tier IV datacenter with redundancies built at every stage. There is no single point of failure in our design. In our datacenter at Hyderabad, even the power supply comes from two separate grids powered by different power generating plants. Aside of this, we also have an in-house power generator with enough diesel in stock to power us for seven full days. Since we are a carrier neutral datacenter, customers can choose a carrier of their choice, and when a particular carrier is down for whatever reason, we can always switchover to another line. Apart from this, we have several layers of physical and electronic security which makes intrusion impossible.

Q: What is your outlook for your company  and the Indian Economy  for FY 2011?
A: India will see a multitrillion-dollar investment to upgrade its core infrastructure during the next seven years. Infrastructure improvements will help raise annual enterprise IT spending growth to between two and three times the world average. The financial sector is the single largest target for enterprise IT spending.  In this growing and demanding scenario, infrastructure outsourcing is the answer . By this model , organizations can focus on their core LOB’s and realize cost saving of more than 30%. This also enables them to in turn improve effeiciencies and be position themselves competitively.

As for CtrlS , we have  a very aggressive growth and expansion plans in mind for  the next fiscal. Our  Mumbai datacenter is scheduled to go live by end of this year. With over 7000 racks and more than 200000 sft of datacenter space . This will also be India’s biggest datacenter and a first time ever captive power unit. Our aim and efforts is to bring world class datacenter services and solutions to India. With this the economies of scale , organizations in India can reap benefits , not only in terms of realized cost savings  but also impact business performance and efficiencies on a daily basis.