Hyderabad: CtrlS Datacenters has set new benchmarks in the datacentre business in the country. Founded by Sridhar Pinnapureddy, who has spearheaded over 200 innovations in energy management, datacentre infrastructure, cloud and disaster recovery, the company is today seen as a thought leader and a trend setter. He is also the founder and chairman of Pioneer Group of companies which has interests in internet, IT services and IT infrastructure.
The major differentiator for this Hyderabad-headquartered company had been its Tier-4 data centre, which is designed to host mission critical servers, computer systems and compartmentalised security zones controlled by biometric access control methods.
The company also focused on energy saving efficiencies. The passion towards ensuring energy savings led to 70-80 innovations within the company, leading to several green energy awards and recognitions.
Sharing his passion, Sridhar Pinnapureddy, founder & chief executive officer, told Telangana Today, “We wanted to do something path breaking. We created disaster recovery as a service. Similarly, we brought out the 4C concept that involves making 4 copies of all data. Our innovation made it possible for use by even small companies which could otherwise be affordable to only large enterprises.”
His journey started small and when he was just 19 years. He fondly recounts, “I started software development when I was in college and was helping my father in his drilling business. I developed software with the help of a second hand computer bought for thousand rupees and made some pocket money. I then started a software company that provides internet services called Pioneer Online, which holds a national licence.”
He adds, “I started datacentre business and failed within a year as bandwidth cost was prohibitively expensive. The US companies like Rackspace were providing services at $50 and we could not sustain even when we charged $150. We had to shut our datacentre business then. The business model however continued to excite me.”
Later on, the prices of bandwidth crashed and the connectivity improved and the ecosystem changed. There was scope to run both enterprise outsourcing (cloud today) and datacentre business. He convinced a large telecom company around 2007-08 as the first anchor client.
Ever since, every 3-6 months, the company ensured constant improvements in the quality of data centre, energy consumption, private cloud and disaster recovery. He has been a risk taker. He built a 1,50 000 sq ft data centre in Mumbai around 2010-11. The demand was low that time but he took a bet that demand will pick up. All the large companies which had datacentres created only 20,000 sq ft space.
“We are planning a new building now seeing the surge in demand. It has always been the case that we were prepared the grab the opportunity in advance.” Data centres offer a value proposition in terms of economies of scale. They create a win-win situation for the clients and the provider. Most of the early clients were MNCs. They were not happy with other data centres. CtrlS studied what other data centres were lacking.
“We were humble to learn from the best datacentres. We hired best people to design the best datacentres. We built a team and developed inhouse skills to make best datacentres. Clients expected no downtime. They expected that their operations are not impacted for about 20 years. We realised Tier-3 data centres is not the solution but the Tier-4. Subsequently Noida and Bengaluru centres came up.”
Datacentre is a very capital intensive business. It needs constant infusion of capital. He said they were extremely disciplined in the cash flows. “We never missed any instalment or defaulted on any financial commitment. Banks did not fully understand the data centre business initially and so were private equity firms,” he said.
Large conglomerates were shy but now they are using data centres. Public sector banks are still shy. E-commerce used to drive datacentres. But now fintech and government sectors are picking up. Large IT companies which used to run their own datacentres have started outsourcing now.
On the global markets, he says, “We are going to be in 40 countries in two years from now. We are already in 12 countries in the last one year. We will rely upon the local outsourcing partners to see that we commit lesser mistakes. We will have logistics, legal and service provider support. We will initially roll out select services in each country.”
Recalling his entrepreneurial journey so far, he said, the company had a series of blockbusters, not just one. Being an innovator all the time, he created an environment to make his team think and innovate. He made them partners in growth and shared success. He created an ecosystem where the team feels they too are entrepreneurs and constantly innovate. Those contributing towards innovation had been duly rewarded.
The company aspires to be significant player in India with ever increasing market share and occupy larger mindshare among top 2,000 enterprises and serve 50 per cent of top 300 companies, globally. It aims to be ahead of times and foray into all metros and tier-2 cities. CtrlS wants to keep the innovation happening.