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Global data centre investment up 22%: report

Further increase of 14% expected into 2013, suggests DCD survey

The research shows that total investment in data centres has grown from approximately $86bn globally in 2011 to $105bn globally in 2012.
The research shows that total investment in data centres has grown from approximately $86bn globally in 2011 to $105bn globally in 2012.

DatacenterDynamics Intelligence today announced the findings of its DatacenterDynamics 2012 Global Census, a worldwide survey of the data centre industry.

The research shows that total investment in data centres has grown from approximately $86bn globally in 2011 to $105bn globally in 2012, a rise of 22.1%.

"Our forecast for 2013 shows a slower rate of growth but still at a very healthy 14.5% over 2012 levels with a further $15bn of additional investment," said Nicola Hayes, managing director of DCD Intelligence.

The largest increase (22.5% globally) in investment from 2011 to 2012 is in the facilities management (FM) and mechanical and electrical (M&E) sectors including such areas as electrical distribution equipment and switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), generators, cooling equipment, security equipment, fire suppression and data centre infrastructure management systems and related services (22.5% increase globally). This was up $9bn from $40bn to $49bn.

The IT equipment sector (including ‘active' equipment such as servers, storage, switches and routers) showed slower growth at 16.7% - from $30bn to $35bn. Projecting forward this is expected to continue to increase but at a slower rate into 2013. 

"Much of the increase in investment in the sector is being driven by growth in less developed markets, although we continue to see some growth in the mature data centre markets of North America and Western Europe. Regions such as Asia Pacific and Latin America are the ones really fuelling global data centre investment levels."


Power (energy) requirements for the sector continue to rise. This year's Census results show a massive increase over the last twelve months of 63.3% globally to 38 gigawatts (GW) with a further 17% forecast for 2013.

There was also an increased average kilowatts (kW) per rack.  Globally the proportion of high density racks (those over 10kW per rack) as a proportion of total racks has increased from 15% in 2011 to 18% in 2012. The percentage of medium density racks (5-10kW per rack) has increased from 30% to 33%.

Requirements for electrical power generation, distribution, UPS and cooling equipment in data centres can be expected to grow as a result of these power increases.

Commenting on responses to the 2012 Data Centre Census around the world on power availability and cost Hayes noted: "Surprisingly, concern as to power availability and cost - both of which have been constant topics in the media and data centre professional groups in recent years - is actually down on a global basis.

"This is explained in part by the increasing representation amongst the sample of companies in less developed markets where power requirements are smaller and so less constrained than in mature markets. Also in part by efficiency and other strategies put in place by data centre companies over the past 12 months to mitigate against increased power costs and to overcome issues to do with availability."


The global trend for data centre ‘white space' - the area in a data centre which houses the IT equipment - grew globally by a relatively small 8.3% from 24m square metres to 26m square metres; though a sharper rise by 19.2% to 31m square metres is forecast for 2013.

There has been a significant increase in the uptake of outsourcing globally - particularly co-location - over the past 12 months (up 31.3% from $16bn to $21bn) and this is projected to continue with a further $5bn increase into 2013.

Reasons for this in the Western economies include the need during tough economic times to reduce CapEx as well as increasing complexities in the data centre environment.

However the greatest growth in outsourcing is evident in the Asia Pacific region where growth in large scale state of the art colocation facilities is encouraging companies to outsource rather than lease or buy their own space.

Commenting on the findings, Zahl Limbuwala, chairman of the BCS Data Centre Specialist Group (whose 1400-strong membership represents all functions and facets of the industry from engineering to software and legal) said, "The findings outlined in the DCD Global Census 2012 largely support the more qualitative trends our members have seen over the last year.

"The figures support the continued investment BCS has committed to the sector through initiatives such as the CEEDA Awards and data centre qualifications."