Iron Mountain announces $150mn joint venture with Web Werks
Boston-based secure data storage provider and data centre operator Iron Mountain has announced a new joint venture with Web Werks, an Indian data centre colocation provider with facilities in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.
The deal will see Iron Mountain invest $150mn into Web Werks’ infrastructure over the next two years, performing a soft acquisition that will see it become a majority investor in the Indian firm by the end of 2023. Web Werks will reportedly use the first phase of the investment to immediately expand its presence in its existing markets, before moving into other Indian tech hubs like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
The first phase of the transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, and is being supported by Deutsche Bank, which acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Web Werks, with PWC India and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acting as advisors to Iron Mountain throughout the transaction.
Property management and investment firm JLL reportedly provided introductory services between the two parties.
Web Werks is one of India’s largest colocation providers, with a total footprint of around 225,000 square feet spread across six facilities with a combined capacity of 4 MW delivered through more than 6,000 servers. The company currently serves over 850 clients in the Indian market and overseas.
“This investment reflects Iron Mountain’s commitment to invest in high growth, good return global markets to continue to meet our customers’ requirements. The India data centre market is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years and we are excited to be an early mover into a market where the demand is high and the supply is low,” commented Mark Kidd, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Iron Mountain Data Centres.
“Web Werks has a highly respected and seasoned leadership team and we are delighted to not only support their continued growth and success, but also to provide our existing Iron Mountain data centre customers access to this growing and thriving market.”
India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market in the world, surpassing the US last year.
According to research by JLL, the country’s colocation market is on track for a major boom over the next few years, predicted to grow from 375 MW of capacity in H1 of 2020 to 1,078 MW by 2025, representing a CAGR of 21%.
“India provides an important next step in expanding our Asia Pacific footprint,” stated Michael Goh, General Manager for APAC at Iron Mountain Data Centres. “We have seen very strong regional demand from our global customers following the grand opening of our Singapore data centre, SIN-1, in 2019.”
NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions.
The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)
The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express.
Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”.
The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said.
Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.
How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?
According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool.
Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers.
The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said.
The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.