Flipkart has started moving its data centres inhouse to build its own network of India's largest server farms, that may be opened up in future for use by other online companies, potentially moving towards a model pioneered by rival Amazon in the global markets.
Valued at about $15 billion, India's largest online retailer has built data centres across various metro cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The data centres now house details of over 50 million Flipkart users, their payment methods, details of sellers and listings across platforms.
"Every quarter, we do a Big App sale day and it's bigger than the Big Billion day of last year. We have not faced any issues in scalability and it's only (become) better," said Punit Soni, Flipkart's chief product officer. "We are India's largest internet company and the world looks up to us," he added. The data centres were built from scratch by the company's engineers.
"Over time yes who knows we may think of opening it up (to third parties). But only once we have achieved stability inside," said Soni. Flipkart was working with outsourced data centre services providers, such as NetMagic, till now.
If set up as a third party arm, a Flipkart cloud platform has the potential to open a new and highly profitable revenue stream for the company which has said that it expects to sell merchandise worth $8 billion this fiscal.
Amazon which opened AWS in 2006, as a separate cloud platform, earns over $6 billion a year from it. In India, AWS has had clients such as redBus, FreshDesk, Paytm and Capillary Technologies in the startup space.
Flipkart also said that letting the data come in-house also offers more security. "All the data is secure as it is anchored in our servers," said Akshay Rajwade, director of mobile products at Flipkart. "It also offers us an opportunity to test out more innovation on the mobile," he said.
The cloud services market in India is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2018, as per Gartner estimates. In India, the data centre market is estimated at about $900 million with companies such as CtrlS, NetMagic, Reliance, NTT Communications, Ricoh, Sify and ESDS dominating the space. US tech majors such as Amazon and Microsoft have also announced that they will launch data centres in India by next