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Number of data centres set to decrease after 2017

Tue 11 Nov 2014

The total number of global data centres will peak at 8.6mn in 2017 before beginning a slow decline, an IDC forecast claims.

According to the research body, the decrease will be brought about by a steady migration from small on-site facilities to ‘mega data centres’ managed and operated by large service providers.

However, the total worldwide space occupied by data centres will continue to rise, jumping from 1.58bn square feet in 2013, to 1.94bn square feet in 2018.

The change will be fuelled by a realignment of corporate data centre priorities. Once used for operational support, the data centre is increasingly used by businesses to trial new strategies, develop products, gain insight and improve customer relations.

These needs require that data centres reliably deliver large and complex transactions and analytic capacity, which in-house infrastructure is unable to achieve.

“Over the next five years, a majority of organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure […] They will make greater use of on-premise and hosted managed services for their existing IT assets, and turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centres for new services,” explained Richard Villars, VP of data centre and cloud research at IDC.

“This will result in the consolidation and retirement of some existing internal data centres, particularly at the low end. At the same time, service providers will continue their race to build, remodel, and acquire data centres to meet the growing demand for capacity,” he added.

IDC also revealed that the most significant development in data centre construction will be from mega data centre cloud service providers, such as Amazon and Microsoft. “By 2018, these mega data centres will account for the vast majority (72.6%) of all service provider data centre construction in terms of space while also accounting for 44.6% of all new high-end data centre space around the world (up from 19.3% in 2013),” said IDC in yesterday’s release.

In the same way, IDC predict that the number of internal high-end data centre environments, which typically require longer-term commitments of assets to build or refresh, will continue to grow over the next five years.

The study suggested that the majority of this growth could be attributed to continued strong data centre construction in China in particular.

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