Reliance partners with Brookfield Infrastructure and Digital Realty to develop India’s data center business

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Monday announced entering into an agreement to invest alongside Brookfield Infrastructure and Digital Realty in their Indian SPVs set up for developing data centers in India. RIL will hold a 33.33 percent stake in each of the Indian SPVs and become an equal partner.

RIL enters into an agreement to invest alongside Brookfield Infrastructure and Digital Realty in their Indian SPVs. Photo Courtesy: Wallpaper Cave

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. is the largest provider of cloud and carrier-neutral data center, colocation and interconnection solutions globally, with 300+ data centers across 27countries.

They have a joint venture with Brookfield Infrastructure that is developing high quality, highly connected, scalable data centers to meet the critical infrastructure needs of enterprises and digital services companies in India.

RIL will become an equal partner in the JV that will be branded as ‘Digital Connexion: A Brookfield, Jio and Digital Realty Company’ and is currently developing data centers in marquee locations of Chennai and Mumbai.

The JV’s first 20 megawatt (MW) greenfield data center (MAA10), on a 100 MW campus in Chennai, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

It recently announced the acquisition of 2.15 acres of land in Mumbai, to build a 40 MW data center. Given the location of these sites, the data centers will be connected to critical terrestrial connectivity infrastructure, as well as undersea cables, and will become hubs for global connectivity for Indian companies and gateways into India for multi-national companies.

Data center capacity in India is expected to increase multi-fold over the next few years. Indians are already amongst the largest mobile data consumers globally.

This will further increase significantly with increasing access to various digital services like OTT platforms and gaming and the ongoing 5G roll-out. Adoption of 5G use cases by enterprises will lead to the adoption of data-intensive technologies like internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The ongoing innovations in generative AI technology have been enabled by hardware and data center infrastructure, and the requirement of these is only set to increase exponentially.

There is also an increased emphasis on the localization of personal data within the country. These drivers will significantly increase the data center and computer capacity requirements of the country.

The JV will be well positioned to serve global and local enterprises, SMBs and the vibrant startups of India, for their cloud and colocation requirements as they move their computation resources on the cloud and off-premise.

Data centers developed by the JV will leverage Digital Realty’s industry-leading energy-efficient data center platform design and operating procedures, highly repeatable Pervasive Data Center Architecture approach and relationships with global customers, Brookfield’s in-depth knowledge of the Indian infrastructure market, and Jio’s massive digital and connectivity ecosystem and very strong enterprise relationships with an existing client base of 80% of large named private enterprises in India.

Speaking about the transaction, Kian Thomas, CEO, Jio Platforms Limited, said, "We are excited to partner with Digital Realty, one of the most innovative data center companies globally, and with Brookfield, our existing and trusted partner. The partnership will help us serve our enterprise and SMB clients with cutting-edge, plug-and-play solutions delivered from the cloud and lead their digital transformation and make them more competitive and efficient."

"The unique and highly engaging consumer and home experiences that we are offering and further innovating on, such as high-definition live content, AR / VR experiences, cloud gaming, immersive shopping experiences and cloud PC have massive compute capacity requirements. We would like to thank the Indian government for granting infrastructure status to data centers and for creating a favorable ecosystem for their development and operations, which is critical for India’s vision to become a $1 Trillion digital economy by 2025."

Arpit Agrawal, Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure, India & Middle East, Brookfield, added, "We are very pleased to expand our existing partnership with Reliance and add their deep expertise in the Indian telecom, tech and data landscape to the platform. Data Centers provide essential services and critical infrastructure to support the digitalization that is taking place in every aspect of life in India. Together with Reliance and Digital Realty, we look forward to providing the best solutions to the digital transformation needs of Indian and global corporations."