data center is essential for any company with a robust
IT infrastructure requiring round-the-clock maintenance.
But every company doesn't need to build its own data
center infrastructure and can outsource the needs to
an external Internet Data Center (IDC). Soutiman Das
Gupta takes a look at Tata Internet Services (TISL)
IDC to get an idea of what data centers in India can
offer to its enterprise customers
on image for larger view
organization with robust IT infrastructure is certain
to maintain an Internet Data Center (IDC) that stores
a large part of its hardware infrastructure and centrally
manages applications like security, storage, ERP, and
CRM. Most large companies have built on-site IDCs that
are equipped with the requisite hardware and applications
to manage their networks.
center services consist of a range of implementation
services, ranging from creating websites to integration
with legacy systems, through infrastructure provisioning
and management through actual Web hosting. Earlier the
demand was basically for providing Web implementation
services. These days however, the focus of customer
demand is shifting to ongoing operations of Web solutions.
The resulting increase in the difficulties involved
in managing the ongoing operations has contributed to
the success of data center outsourcing," says Sanjay
Srivastava, Product Head - Data Center Services, TISL.
Many companies irrespective of size can use the facilities
of an external IDC that offers a large range of services
and features. "Outsourcing IDC services can provide
number of strategic and tactical benefits. The strategic
benefits are that you can improve business focus, gain
access to ready resources and processes, receive accelerated
results and benefits, reduce risk, and free resources
for other functions. The tactical benefits are that
you can manage and control operating costs, make capital
funds available for other projects, avoid high cost
of procurement of applications and hardware, and spend
a lot of resources to maintain and manage the infrastructure,"
says Sanjay. Let's look at TISL's IDCs in Mumbai and
Hyderabad to have an idea of what this data center has
The principal options for IDC outsourcing include hosting
and co-location. However, customers are beginning to
realize that these options only address part of the
problem. As a result, managed services are gaining importance.
service offerings of the IDC are:
Customer work area
Shared servers offer clients the ability to host their
website or application on a professionally managed server
at a low quarterly cost. Shared servers provide individual
websites with redundant connectivity and 24x7 monitoring
for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.
The website is stored on high-performance Intel Processor-based
servers that are maintained and managed daily.
All servers are protected from power supply breakdowns
and electrical surges. Shared hosting is available on
the following platforms:
A. Shared hosting on NT 4.0
B. Shared hosting on Windows 2000
C. Shared hosting on Linux
Customers can also use other services on shared hosting
like e-mail solutions and bandwidth options. The customer
will have to pay only for the bandwidth that is actually
used. They can be charged either for data transfer on
a per GB basis or on fixed bandwidth usage in multiples
of 64 Kbps.
Dedicated hosting servers are single computers fully
devoted to the needs of one customer. They allow for
faster access to information and provide the customer
with greater flexibility to add advanced database and
Collocation refers to an approach where a customer 'collocates'
its servers in an environment in which it can take advantage
of the provider's floor-space as well as access to network
bandwidth. The customer is provided with rack space,
bandwidth, access to the Internet, UPSs, and 24x7 server
monitoring. Customers will be required to bring their
own equipment and choose rack space and connectivity
that best meets their individual needs.
Outsourcing the management and monitoring of mission-critical
Internet operations is crucial for stability in an increasingly
complex networking environment.
TISL's IDC offers these managed services at extra costs:
Managed security services
Intrusion Detection services
Network assessment, design and implementation services
Customer work area
Customers have the facility of a dedicated work area
within the IDC premises. The work area has access to
all facilities required by the customer to manage its
Both of TISL's IDCs together make for over 20,000 sq
ft space. They have precision-controlled cooling systems,
power conditioning equipment, and multiple generators.
Network management tools ensure pro-active monitoring
of leased circuits and helps identify problem areas
quickly. The data centers have raised floors and a range
of physical security features. The security features
include smoke detection and fire suppression systems,
motion sensors, biometric sensors, proximity card readers,
video camera surveillance, security breach alarms and
a 24x7 helpdesk that provides service to its clients.
The company has a WAN which comprises 52 POPs and it
is a partial mesh network. Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad
are connected over a multiple nX2 Mbps backbone. This
mesh configuration eliminates single point-to-point
fiber link failures. Among other POPs, Chennai is parented
to Delhi and Hyderabad, and Bangalore is connected to
Mumbai and Hyderabad over nX2 Mbps. All the 5 POPs are
connected to upstream carriers like Cable & Wireless/Teleglobe
over nX2 Mbps.
Multiple nX2 Mbps are peered with VSNL in Mumbai to
exchange domestic traffic with other ISPs/IDCs within
India. And with the help of network management tools,
the IDC can continuously monitor bandwidth usage and
can advise the customer on the usage pattern thereby
facilitating bandwidth upgrades at the right time.
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at