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Chennai turning into a data centre hub

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Tamil Nadu’s capital city Chennai after being the ‘Detroit’ of India for housing several automobile makers is turning out to become a major data centre hub.

With the central government and Reserve Bank of India insisting on players to have their data stored in India, the data centre business is getting a boost.

“With three submarine cable landing stations (one more to come), a comfortable power supply position (data centre capacity is generally measured in MW), the availability of market and knowledge pool, Chennai is an ideal location,” Nikhil Rathi, CEO and Founder of Web Werks India Pvt Ltd, a major player told IANS.

Adding further he said the Covid-19 lockdown saw huge amount of data traffic and it is growing.

Web Werks has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tamil Nadu government to build a 20MW data centre here at an outlay of about Rs.700 crore and will have a headcount of 100.

For Web Works, Chennai will be its second largest location in India. The company has its data centres in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi in India. It also has data centres overseas.

The Tamil Nadu government is working to come out with a separate policy for data centres to strengthen the ecosystem.

“Most common requirements of data centres pertaining to housing regulations and power are being worked upon to encourage data centre investments and further downstream investments,” the state government said.

Rathi said all buildings cannot house a data centre. The building that houses a data centre will generally need a higher ceiling.

“The buildings are machine specific,” Rathi added.

According to the state government, there are six submarine data cables with a bandwidth of 14.8 Tbps.

The rural areas in Tamil Nadu are also well connected with more than 12,524 village panchayats with a minimum scalable bandwidth of 1 Gbps.

As per TRAI, Chennai is among the top five service areas in India for broadband subscriptions.

The state government has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with nine companies for setting up data centres with a total proposed investment of Rs 16,927 crore and employment potential of over 9,000 jobs over the last two years.

National and international companies, including Yotta, Princeton Digital, ST Telemedia, Netmagic and Adani are in the process of setting up their data centers in Chennai.

The Ambattur locality in Chennai is the preferred choice for data centre companies owing to its favourable geographical conditions and existing data centre ecosystem.

Siruseri is the next ideal destination due to the presence of several IT companies, which offers a great market opportunity, the government said.

Rathi said there is a good market for data centres in Southern cities like Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad owing to the concentration of IT companies, talent pool.

He said Tamil Nadu has the single window clearance which eases the regulatory clearance process.

As per a JLL report, Mumbai and Chennai are expected to drive 73 per cent of the sector’s total capacity addition during 2021-23, while other cities like Hyderabad and Delhi-NCR emerging as new hotspots.

India’s data centre sector will require investment of $3.7 billion over the next three years in order to fulfill the 6 million square feet greenfield development, JLL said.

Data centres in Chennai:

Business

WhatsApp working on new software that uses Apple Mac Catalyst

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 Meta-owned WhatsApp is working on a new Mac app that uses the Apple Mac Catalyst development environment to make better use of system resources.

According to AppleInsider, WhatsApp currently provides a web-based Electron app for Mac users in addition to its web app via browsers.

Electron and Catalyst are software development frameworks that help developers create desktop apps.

The new app has been in a closed beta for a few months, but now anyone can download the file on macOS Big Sur or later on the WhatsApp website, according to the report.

Following installation, it will display a QR code that users can scan with their iPhone to link their accounts using the WhatsApp iOS app.

The Mac app’s three-panel interface provides access to archived chats, starred messages, phone calls, and settings.

The Catalyst app includes features not available in the Electron version, such as file drag-and-drop and a spell-checker, the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has reportedly rolled out some new shortcuts for group admins to quickly and easily perform actions for a certain group participant, on iOS.

The new shortcuts simplify interactions with group members as now the platform supports large groups of up to 1,024 participants, reports WABetainfo.

The new update will help group admins quickly manage and communicate with such a large number of participants in private.

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Business

Mumbai: No jumbo block on Western Railway on Sunday

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There will be no jumbo block on Sunday, January 29 over Western Railway’s (WR) Mumbai suburban section, the WR announced today.

Major block to dismantle Gokhale bridge

Earlier last week, the Western Railway had enforced a major 4.5 hour block on the down slow lines from 12.15am to 4.45am on the intervening nights of Jan 19-20 and Jan 20-21 to carry out dismantling work of the Gokhale road overbridge at Andheri.

As a result, a number of local train services were affected.

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Business

Panvel unit of employees of Bank of Maharashtra to join a day strike

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The Panvel unit of employees of the Bank of Maharashtra joined the one-day strike on January 27. All the unions operating in the Bank of Maharashtra have called for a one-day nationwide strike on January 27, 2023, mainly on the issue of adequate recruitment in all the cadres. The bank has eliminated the part-time staff cadre.

In the case of clerks and officers, the bank has not filled vacancies caused by death, retirement, resignations, or promotions, let alone vacancies caused by business growth.

During the last 10 years, banks’ business has grown by 250% while their staff has been reduced by 20%, and thus staff is hard pressed.

According to the union, employees are required to work beyond normal hours on almost all days and report to their duties on their weekly off and holidays. Employees are not able to avail of leave to their credit even for exigencies, and thus they have lost work-life balance.

Due to acute staff shortages, employees are unable to provide efficient customer service, despite their sincere efforts. Employees are working under immense pressure and thus are undergoing physical and mental stress.

The unions have been raising this issue of recruitment individually and collectively, but management is adamant and stubborn; thus, the January 27, 2023, strike has become inevitable.

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