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Data centre spending boom in decline, says Gartner

Fri 10 Apr 2015

A new Gartner report addressing projections for IT spending in 2015 identifies a slowdown in the growth of the DC market, and suggests market saturation in the server blade arena are likely to force the market to consolidate and to begin to retrench in the next nine months.

The prediction comes in the context of a forecast for massive reduction in overall IT spend – $3.66 trillion (£2.4 trillion), a reduction in growth of 1.3 per cent, compared to a 2.4 per cent growth forecast in Q4 2014.

Gartner posits that external controller-based storage joins servers and enterprise network hardware in having suffered from depreciation of certain local currencies against the dollar, but notes that the server market is most under pressure from low margins.

The estimates corroborate an IDC forecast that the number of data centres worldwide will peak at 8.6 million around 2017 and thereafter experience a slight decline, and supports the general trend away from smaller outfits and towards massive DC market consolidation, with centralisation of data centres an economic inevitability.

Opinion You can’t lay track forever. At some point DC infrastructure and capacity is likely to become ‘good enough’, with further development and new growth only made feasible by significant technological advances in storage or throughput. But the excitement generated by the possibility of atom-thick graphene is accompanied by similarly significant breakthroughs such as increased hard disk density, with the former likely to inspire profitable hardware revolutions but the latter equally likely to shrink data centre demand as effectively as it compresses the storage.

Additionally the growth of the Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) is increasingly treating storage in an arbitrary fashion, whist Cloud and Hybrid Cloud storage promotes the controller environment far above the infrastructure layer.

But the future of the data centre market is likely contingent on far more unpredictable factors than whether or not graphene ever gets off the drawing board to become productive – factors such as retention legislation, advances in codec compression, and data sovereignty policies that may well steer the market away from the cheaper manufacturing and storage environments that it is inclined towards.

In either case the business model for a ‘mom-n-pop’ data centre enterprise is increasingly one in which later acquisition is a central feature. According to IDC “By 2018…mega datacenters will account for the vast majority (72.6%) of all service provider datacenter construction in terms of space while also accounting for 44.6% of all new high-end datacenter space around the world (up from 19.3% in 2013),”


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