Microsoft to build “50 to 100 new data centres each year”
The announcement that Microsoft is building a new cluster of data centres has become a regular fixture of the data centre industry’s news cycle. Now, it seems as though the frequency of these announcements is going to increase dramatically.
In on Tuesday, the company revealed that Microsoft’s global cloud expansion will not only see the company enter 10 new countries this year alone, but that the tech giant is on track to build “between 50 and 100 new data centres each year for the foreseeable future.”
Microsoft currently operates more than 200 data centres around the world, which support its existing and planned Azure Cloud operations in 34 countries, and are connected by over 165,000 miles of subsea cable.
If the announcement - which is attributed to Noelle Walsh, a corporate VP responsible for leading Microsoft’s Cloud and Innovation team - is true, that would mean we’re about to see the Washington-based tech giant almost quadruple its data centre portfolio before the end of 2025. That would make it one of the most significant private infrastructure projects in history.
Courtesy of Microsoft
It also comes as something of a surprise, given that last year Microsoft said it would be scaling back investment in its data centre business due to global server component shortages. Now, it would seem that - - Microsoft has found a way past the supply chain disruptions of the pandemic (not to mention the independent shortage of components like microchips) and is ready to forge ahead at pace.
While the impressive claim about its rate of global expansion is certainly the most newsworthy element of Microsoft’s blog post, the piece is ostensibly meant to trumpet the launch of of one of its facilities - something few people ever got to do in person, even before the pandemic.
The tour “makes the cloud real for people and less high-tech and highfalutin,” said Walsh.
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.