Intelligent Cities: Emerging data centre demand and deployment

Emerging data centre demand and deployment

Data centres are a vital component of intelligent cities. As smart cities flourish amidst rapid urbanisation and information and communication technology development, the demand for building more and more data centres is rising. At a recent conference, Pradeep Kumar Agarwal, advisor, Gurugram Smart City, and Aniruddha Shahapure, chief knowledge officer, Pune Smart City, shared their views on the emerging demand for data centres, deployment models and smart city initiatives towards hyperscale data centres and data centre parks. Some of the key takeaways from their presentations…

Key developments

The Pune Smart City has its own data centre and a data recovery centre in Mumbai. The data centre collects all the data to be used as and when required by the user de­partments. Pune is the first smart city to use the India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) to laun­ch the first pilot urban data exchange. The city is contributing to almost 850 data-sets via the IUDX application programm­ing interface.

Further, 300 Wi-Fi hotspots are available at public gardens, hospitals, police stations and other strategic locations. Ar­ound 50 environmental sensors are fu­nc­tional at various locations to monitor critical parameters such as sound, temperature, air quality and noise pollution. Also, the smart city has 32 flood sensors including at bridges, canals and riverbanks to measure live water levels. All such data collection points are key in collecting stra­tegic data, which helps in devising future course of action by the smart city.

Meanwhile, the Gurugram Smart City has a fully secured data centre, which meets the requirements of different departments. The Gurugram Metropolitan Develop­me­nt Au­tho­rity (GMDA) uses the existing data centre facility of RailTel in Guru­gram. This data centre is connected on a fibre link to the command and control centre (CCC). The smart city corporation has used hyperflex servers and spine-leaf technology. The smart city has 20 servers across the city, comprising 10 hyperflex servers and 10 unified computing system servers.

The Gurugram Smart City is divided into six subcities. The optical fibre network is laid along all the important roads across subcities. The city has deployed about 400 km of op­tical fibre cable (OFC) to connect all CCTV locations, government buildings, etc., covering all the stra­tegic points in the city. About 38 access rings are made along with 11 agg­re­gation po­ints put together in these subcities. The optical fibre network has four core po­­­in­ts lest failure of any point should hamper data collection.

Gurugram has used dense wavelength division multiplexing in the core network, routers in the aggregation network and every CCTV is connected to the nearest aggregation point.


The Gurugram Smart City’s integrated command and control centre (ICCC) is be­ing fully utilised for city surveillance, traffic monitoring, street li­ght control, se­wage treatment plants, water supply, solid waste management, environment and civic services. Further, during the Covid-19 pandemic, ICCCs were used as emergency response systems. The smart city has around 136 emergency call boxes through which citizens can directly connect to the ICCC. Besides, the smart city has laun­ched a mobile app for citizens to provide information related to the GMDA and has also developed a grievance portal.

Further, Pune Smart City Develop­ment Cor­poration Limited’s ICCCs en­able the city administration and its stakeholders to make infor­med decisions with real-time data. The Pune Smart City too has all its sensor points and data collection units attached to the ICCC. Du­ring the Covid-19 pandemic, the ICCC proved key in assessing the data collected regarding va­­rious aspects such as number of ca­ses, patient details and planning various con­tainment zones across the city.

Challenges and the way forward

A key challenge put forward by the Gu­rugram Smart City was the deployment of OFC infrastructure in the city and attaining right-of-way (RoW) approvals from different authorities. Further, the presence of a large number of manholes in ci­ti­es to cover multiple points of presence and the need to maintain service-level ag­reements during fibre faults are also affecting OFC deployment. Given the issues associated with smart city development, the future trend will be cooperation between institutions across different fields in the value chain.

GMDA is planning to set up a smart parking system, a water system and an intelli­gent tra­ffic management system; to provide data centre connectivity to buildings on the optical fibre network and other im­portant locations; create Wi-Fi hot­spots; advertise at bus shelters through ICCCs; and conduct 5G trials. Further, the Guru­gram Smart City is working on Phase II of CCTV installation, adding 800 more cameras to the existing figure to take it to 1,200.

Net, net, smart city administrations see data centres not only as storage units but also as responsible architecture, whe­rein da­ta centres will have more responsibilities in terms of security, accessibility, late­n­cy and retrieval of data.