The data centre industry is on track for a boom
During the pandemic, the data centre industry has gone from a healthy subset of the ICT sector to an essential utility.
In 2021, that trend shows no sign of slowing down. New data from ABB Power Conversion, DCP, and Synergy Research Group all points towards a boom year for the sector.
Overall, suggests that the global data centre market will grow by 14% year-on-year in 2021, with 96% of the data centre professionals surveyed saying they saw increased demand on their facilities last year.
“The impact of COVID-19 fundamentally accelerated the concept of ‘mission critical’. Overnight, businesses became even more reliant on the cloud to enable operations, processes and remote collaboration,” says ABB Power Conversion president Jeff Schnitzer.
With its high level of digitalisation and maturity, Europe saw demand for data skyrocket during the past year. A predicts that European data centre operators will see revenues increase by a staggering 46% in the coming year, with public cloud provider revenues expected to jump by 56%. In an age when public cloud expansion is actually drawing down on data demand in other sectors, both elements of the industry seem to be finding enough demand to justify continued growth.
DCP’s 2021 Data Centre European Report points to a boom in new facility build-outs, with over 70 projects underway in 12 countries totalling 851,000 square metres of floor space. A large portion of this investment is expected to come from US operators, with CyrusOne, QTS, ServerChoice, Iron Mountain and Vantage Data Centres (which is developing campus facilities in Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, Warsaw and Zurich) all pouring cash into significant projects across the region.
Microsoft, Google and Amazon dominate the Hyperscale Market
2021, as we’ve mentioned before at Data Centre Magazine, is going to be . New data released this week by Synergy Research found that, by the end of 2020, there were almost 600 hyperscale data centres operating around the world, a figure that’s more than doubled since 2015.
Out of the 597 hyperscalers currently up and running around the world, Amazon, Google and Microsoft accounted for more than half of them. Amazon and Google in particular spun up the most new data centres last year, with their projects accounting for half of all new hyperscale facilities in 2020.
2021 is also the year when Microsoft Azure is predicted to overtake Office as the company’s chief revenue stream.
“There were 111 new hyperscale data centres opened in the last eight quarters, with 52 of those coming onstream in 2020 despite COVID-19 causing a few logistical issues,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group.
“That is testament to the ongoing robust growth in the digital services that are driving those investments – particularly cloud computing, SaaS, e-commerce, gaming and video services. We did actually see a handful of older hyperscale data centres shut down in 2020, but those numbers pale besides the number of newly opened or planned sites. In addition to almost 600 operational data centres, we have visibility of a further 219 that are at various stages of planning or building, which is good news indeed for data centre hardware vendors and wholesale data centre operators.”
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.