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Microsoft, Zoho plan local data centres to offer cloud services

Large service providers like Microsoft and homegrown ones like Zoho are setting up data centres in India to meet the huge demand for cloud-based services.

This will help them provide faster access to data from local servers and also meet future regulations to have local servers for e-governance initiatives on the cloud. At present, most of the cloud-based services are hosted in servers abroad, especially in the US, sources said.

Localised services
Microsoft plans to set up three data centres in India by this year-end to offer Azure and Office 365 services from local data centres. In a cloud environment, a client need not invest upfront on software and hardware and can outsource these for a fee from vendors like Microsoft or Zoho.

A cloud adoption survey in January by research firm Gartner said that 53 per cent of companies in India indicated they use cloud services, with another 43 per cent indicating plans to begin using cloud services in the next 12 months. Gartner predicts high rates of spending on cloud services in India to continue through 2018, when the market is expected to reach $1.9 billion.

The demand is driven by cloud infrastructure as a service, cloud management and security services, as well as cloud application infrastructure platform as a service.

Imagine a building that can park two Boeing 747 jumbos. That’s the storage size of a data centre with nearly 600,000 servers that Microsoft builds globally. It is possible that a similar size building will come up in India to store huge amount of data for various clients, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice-President (Developer Division) S Somasegar told BusinessLine recently.

Every month, it adds nearly 2,000 customers in India for its commercial cloud, he said. Chennai-based Zoho Corp, which provides cloud-based services, is converting its centre in the city into a data centre to house thousands of servers, said its CEO Sridhar Vembu.

Zoho’s $1-m plan
“We want to grow our domestic and government businesses. We see a vast potential for IT, and want our Cloud initiative to be part of this. With the government focused a lot on IT, hosting data in India is better for national security,” he said. Zoho is spending $1 million on setting up the data centre, he said.

Once the data centre is ready, Zoho will start dialogues with the Centre to host services on the cloud. This will be easy to integrate with the National Informatics Centre network, which hosts all the government data.

Today, government departments mainly use Microsoft stack, Gmail and WhatsApp. “The government needs a good cloud strategy,” he said.

Source: The Hindu BusinessLine

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