India builds a mega data center

IBM has designed and helped to build a 900,000-square-foot data center in India that it says is the largest in that country in terms of size and power. It’s also among the largest in the world.

The data center was built for an Indian company, Tulip Telecom, which will make physical data center space available for clients. It will also provide cloud infrastructure services using IBM systems.

Mega-sized data centers are becoming increasing commonplace but this facility in Bangalore is different in one key respect: it’s vertical.

In the U.S., many large data centers are built in relatively rural areas that allow single story, mall-style construction that stretch over multiple acres. That approach doesn’t work in India, where land and space is at a premium, said Steve Sams, vice president for IBM global site and facility services. “High quality land in good locations is precious,” he said.

The first three floors are shared space. There are also four five-story towers where the data center facilities will be located. Each floor will have approximately 10,000 square feet of raised floor space built in modular style, or about 200,000 square feet of raised floor space in total. There will be two to three data centers on each floor, Sams said.

The facility will be able to support 100 megawatts, which puts it among the largest facilities in the world. It is located in one of the better areas in India for power reliability and is connected to two different grids, said Sams.

The facility has multiple levels of security , including an intelligent camera system with 1,500 cameras that can track a visitor throughout the facility, said Sams.

Sams said the data center will have a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.5. PUE is the ratio of total facility power, including everything from the cooling systems, UPS, and lighting, to IT equipment power, the load associated with all IT equipment, the servers and storage .

The building that houses the data center was a shell for an uncompleted project within a business park. Work began in March last year.

The demand for data center space in India is expected to more than double over the next four years, according to Gartner. It said the market is expected to reach $609 million this year and rise to $1.3 billion through 2016.

Data centers are getting gigantic. CyrusOne, for instance, announced last fall that it purchased a 40-acre parcel in Chandler, Ariz., to build a 1 million- squar-foot data center with 110 megawatts of power capacity.

The National Security Agency is building a 1 million-square-foot data center in Salt Lake City at a cost of $1.2 billion.

China is building a cloud computing complex that’s expected to have some 6.2 million square feet of buildings, with 646,000 square feet of data center space rising to more than a million. China is experiencing, overall, a data center boom .