India is poised to witness a remarkable achievement in its data center landscape, surpassing 1 GW in total capacity by the close of 2024. The sector is experiencing significant growth driven by factors including the acceleration of trends like AI, IoT, machine learning, and generative AI, which have contributed to increased investments in data centers across the country.
This demand is further fueled by the push for data localization, influenced by the country’s data protection norms and the proposed data center policy. This has attracted global data majors to establish their presence in India. Sustainability is also playing a crucial role in shaping the industry, with a growing emphasis on adopting low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies by global operators.
A recent report by global real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield sheds light on the evolving dynamics of India’s data center domain. As per the report, Mumbai solidified its significance in the data center realm by securing the third spot in the Asia-Pacific region. The report also predicts a noteworthy development in Noida’s role as a key regional hub by 2024, surpassing Bengaluru in installed colocation capacity and approaching the levels achieved by Chennai, currently the second-largest in the country for installed IT load capacity.
Situated strategically in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Noida is positioned to become an emerging powerhouse in the data center landscape. The report anticipates a substantial addition of 265 MW in colocation capacity, propelling India’s total installed capacity (IT load) to an impressive 1.15 GW by the close of 2024.
While Mumbai and Chennai are expected to lead this growth, Noida is set to play a crucial role in regional expansion. Currently, Mumbai dominates India’s data center landscape with a 52% share of the total IT load, followed by Chennai with 16%, Delhi NCR with 11%, Bengaluru with 9%, Pune with 7%, Hyderabad with 4%, and Kolkata with 1%. However, the report suggests a shift in this landscape by 2024, with Delhi NCR’s share projected to rise to 14%, and Kolkata’s share expected to be around 3%.
Vivek Dahiya, Managing Director and Head of the Data Centre Advisory Team, Asia Pacific, at Cushman and Wakefield, highlighted the dynamic evolution of India’s data center sector. He emphasized that Mumbai remains the undisputed data center capital, while Hyderabad and Noida are emerging as new hotspots, particularly for upcoming cloud and colocation capacity. Dahiya further stressed the ongoing expansion into tier-II cities as established firms seek to deepen their footprint in India.
Tier-II cities like Vijayawada, Nagpur, Raipur, Kochi, Patna, and Mangalore are becoming focal points for key data center operators. These cities are being considered for the establishment of edge data centers and disaster recovery sites.
We can expect to see several patterns in this evolving landscape, including data center capacity growth, hyperlocal data providers collaborating with hyperscalers to enhance cloud offerings for Indian enterprises, and increased foreign investment driven by local demand. As the data center sector continues to evolve, India’s potential in this domain remains substantial, heralding an era of robust digital infrastructure, innovation, and resilience.