Google’s marketing strategy – locating in India


Google’s proposal to set up a server farm in India comes on the back of increasing number of internet users in the country. A local server will allow users to access the internet faster and also save on access costs from international locations when volumes increase. Nasdaq listed Google, the firm behind the world’s No 1 internet search engine, is planning a server farm in India. This is its second attempt, after infrastructure-related problems forced it to call off an earlier plan in the early part of 2006. They went on to build that farm in Taiwan.

The California based company was in the news recently over its plans to set up an SEZ in the country. The server farm will envisage an investment running into a few hundred million dollars. Though no further details of the project are available from the highly-secretive firm, sources say the centre will be the company’s second such facility in Asia and seventh globally. Google is so cagey that people are yet to see a picture of Google’s data centers anywhere in the world.

Google’s server farm will further boost the country as a preferred destination for competing companies like Microsoft and Yahoo. Building server farms is a hot activity in the US as software giants like Microsoft have decided to move most of their applications to the internet. Individual data center operators and giants like Microsoft and Yahoo are investing over $4 billion in building bigger and faster data centers. There is a good chance that others might follow if Google does say some experts.

However, Google will have to cross a few hurdles before setting up farms in India. Effectively, a server farm of the kind Google runs ends up using as much power as a small city in the US does.

It is not just that. Since, a site like Google cannot afford even a few minutes down time, power supply must be highly efficient. Even the 99.99% reliability promised by US power plants won’t suffice for Google. That is exactly what tripped Google’s first attempt to set up a data centre in India earlier. An industry official says that Google had found it difficult to find a location where it could get adequate amounts of power; leave alone a reliable supply. Setting up additional ancillary power backups to increase reliability apparently worked out to be very expensive. Google then decided to set up its data centre in Taiwan to cater to the South Asian region. In addition Google was also quite concerned about terrorism and espionage in India.

There are no details available as to how it plans to secure power this time around. The plan of setting up the India centre is important for Google as it sees India as one of its big markets according to a company source.

To Sum up

Microsoft, Yahoo and Google which host an array of web services like e-mails, search engines, chat, games, maps, and even online libraries are investing billions of dollars in building server farms to store data. Rows and rows of interconnected computers (servers) that receive, store, process and send data like e-mail, blogs and web casts are commonly referred to as server farms or data centers.

Server farms are gluttons when it comes to consuming power. Millions of transactions whirr the computers fast enough to produce a lot of heat, which then needs to be cooled up with efficient chillers. Therefore it is an extremely critical choice for locating a server farm.