Data centre construction to slow: IDC

Increasing adoption of mobile computing and private clouds will lead to a decline in the number of enterprise data centres and server closets within the next two years, according to a report from analyst firm International Data Corp.

IDC expects the total number of data centres worldwide to peak at about 8.6 million in 2017 and then “begin to slowly decline.” Latest forecast from the Framingham, Mass-based firm shows that a shift to so called third platform technologies will directly impact data centre construction and remodelling. IDC defines the third platform as a computing platform that include cloud, mobile, big data and social media.

The three characteristics that define the third platform are:

Scale: Supporting up to 10x increases in supported users and/or data sets without comparable increases in datacenter footprint

Speed: Creating and updating applications and services in weeks/days, not years/months, without increasing IT operations and development staff levels

Scope: Enabling the coordination of multiple applications and data sources, internal and external, to deliver new services to customers without sacrificing data integrity and user experience

“Over the next five years, a majority of organizations will stop managing their own infrastructure,” said Richard Villars, vice-president for data centre and cloud research at IDC. “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.”

He said, this development will cause the consolidation and retirement of some internal data centres and precipitate a “race” among service providers to build, remodel and acquire data centres to meet the growing demand for capacity.

The trend is being powered by the changing enterprise demands on data centres which are no longer considered to be places to merely store IT assets. With the increasing reliance of businesses in big data, cloud computing, mobile and social technologies, organizations are turning to data centres to be the foundation of new business models and critical launching pads for compute resources handle and analyze huge amounts of data.

“This requires that datacenters reliably deliver large and highly variable amounts of transaction, content serving, and analytic capacity on time, with no delays and no excuses,” the IDC report said. “In this environment, building and running datacenters as well as managing IT assets at the edge can no longer be a part-time or occasional job.”

IDC foresees a decline in internal data centre server room in 2016 and internal server closets beginning 2017. Other data centre categories will continue to grow during the forecast period.

“Despite a decline in the number of data centres, total worldwide data centre space will continue to increase, growing from 1.58 billion square feet in 2013 to 1.94 billion square feet in 2018,” the report said.

The shift signals the growing importance of what IDC calls “service provider mega data centres” which are becoming the primary server location for large collocation and cloud providers.

These mega data centres will account for as much as 72.6 per cent of all service provider data centre construction in terms of space and will account for 44.6 per cent of all new high-end data centre space around the world, by 2018.

The number of internal high-end data centre environments will also continue to grow. Growth in this sector will increased by 8.4 per cent over the forecast period and account for nearly a third of worldwide data space by 2018.

Much of the growth can be attributed to increase data centre construction in China as well as the construction of large data centres to replace smaller and more dispersed data centres.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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