ByteDance expands US data centre footprint
The Chinese internet technology firm, , has leased 53MW of data centre capacity in Northern Virginia that, according to reports, could accommodate hundreds of thousands of servers for cloud computing and data processing.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is investing heavily in its data centre facilities internationally, with forming just a fraction of the company’s overall expenditure. In 2019, ByteDance revealed plans to build to store data collected from its European users.
Founded in 2012, ByteDance is reportedly worth over $100bn. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in a massive surge in mobile users. In August, TikTok registered more than 600mn daily active users – a rise of 50% from its 400mn daily users in January 2020.
The company’s continued investments in the US are surprising, given the current privacy concerns and an escalating trade war between the US and China.
President Donald Trump pressured ByteDance earlier this year to give U.S. investors a majority share of the company, citing allegations the app could be used to harvest data for the Chinese government. India also recently blocked TikTok along with nearly 120 Chinese tech companies, amidst similar concerns.
In September 2020, an agreement was reached for Oracle and Wal-Mart to take control of the company, but the deal is yet to be finalised. According to a by Sputnik News, on November 4th, Washington, DC district judge Carl Nichols announced uncertainty over whether the ByteDance could issue a new injunction against the Department of Commerce ban on the legal basis of "irreparable harm".
As ByteDance occupies space in several colocation data centres in the US, government restrictions could potentially enter force on November 12. But the continued compliance of the company suggests a solution is imminent.
In one of the biggest office leases signed during the pandemic, ByteDance also signed a lease with the Durst Organisation for 232,000 square feet at One Five One in Times Square. According to a report by , the added capacity is in line with the US government’s directives to store domestic TikTok users’ data in the U.S.
ByteDance’s decision to expand its US data storage capacity in Virginia, therefore, is understandable. Virginia is currently the most popular area for data centre leasing in North America, accounting for close to 70% of the total, across leading markets in the first half of 2020.
Meanwhile, news of ByteDance’s US investments follows on from false claims made earlier this year that the Beijing-based company was seeking to construct a dedicated data centre facility in Singapore. However, do suggest ByteDance has invested heavily in the SEA market, purchasing cloud computing servers in Singapore as a contingency backup for data based in the US.
Equinix: Digital leaders expect changes to working patterns
A global report released by Equinix has revealed that digital leaders expect long-term changes to the way people work.
As part of the report, the data infrastructure company surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers from several different businesses spanning 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. The study also highlighted the biggest technology trends affecting global businesses and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital infrastructure plans.
Talking about companies’ expansion strategies, Claire Macland, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Equinix, said: “Many companies are now investing more in their digital infrastructure to enable them to embrace a hybrid working model and thrive in the new world of work we all find ourselves in.
“Despite headwinds in many sectors, many organizations are continuing to expand physically and virtually into new markets and regions around the world”, she said.
The report drew the following conclusions:
- 64% of the 2,600 digital leaders surveyed believed there will be “long-term changes to both how and where people will work in the future.
- 57% of global companies intend to expand into new regions despite the effects of the pandemic
- 51% of businesses worldwide say they have rearchitected their IT infrastructure so that it can meet the demands of remote and hybrid working. Digital transformation has also been accelerated due to an increase in businesses’ technology budgets.
How might digital transformation be affected post-pandemic?
COVID-19 has demanded that companies make several changes to the way that they operate, including digital transformation. According to the study, 47% of those surveyed reported that they have accelerated their digital transformation plans because of the Coronavirus pandemic. A further 42% of organisations said their budgets have increased to keep up with the growth of digital transformation.
Another change in adapting to the pandemic was to businesses’ IT strategies with six in 10 companies saying that it has been revised in response to the situation. 58% said they are looking to invest in technology to “improve agility’ post-COVID.
When asked about their priorities for their digital strategy, 80% of respondents said that digitising their infrastructure was of utmost importance, while 57% viewed interconnection as a ‘key facilitator’ of digital transformation.
"This increasing focus on digitization and expansion is one of the reasons why Equinix has continued to invest in its own growth. We completed 16 new expansions in 2020—our most active build year ever—and expect to continue to evolve Platform Equinix to support our customers as they continue on their digital transformation journey”, said Claire Macland.
Potential concerns disperse over expansion plans being halted by COVID-19
The study has also revealed that organisations’ previous concerns that the pandemic will negatively affect their business expansion plans have been lessened.
57% of businesses have said that they “still have plans” to expand into new regions and of that percentage, nearly two-thirds (63%) plan to do so virtually instead of investing in physical IT infrastructure.
The full Equinix report can be found here.