As data centre deployments near peak, analysts forecast global decline

The transition to the 3rd Platform is having a direct impact on data centre construction and remodelling.

The transition to the 3rd Platform is having a direct impact on data centre construction and remodelling.

As a result, IDC expects the total number of data centres (all types) deployed worldwide will peak at 8.6 million in 2017 and then begin to decline slowly.

The analyst firm believes this shift will be triggered by a “decline in internal data centre server rooms” starting in 2016 and internal server closets starting in 2017.

All other data centre categories will continue to grow throughout the forecast period however, with the number of service provider data centres increasing much faster.

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

"Over the next five years, a majority of organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure," explains Richard L. Villars, Vice President, data centre and Cloud Research, 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.

“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."

Villars says the data centre and server rooms/closets are no longer just the places where organisations house their IT assets.

“The data centre must serve as the primary point of engagement and information exchange with employees, partners, and customers in today's interconnected world,” the report adds.

“The data centre is also the foundation for new business models where leveraging large volumes of data and highly elastic compute resources are critical to delivering better insight and a superior product/user experience.”

Villars believes this requires that data centres reliably deliver large and highly variable amounts of transaction, content serving, and analytic capacity on time, with no delays and no excuses.

In this environment, building and running data centres as well as managing IT assets at the edge can no longer be a part-time or occasional job.

“The most significant development in data centre construction is the growing importance of service provider mega data centres, which are the primary server location for large collocation and cloud service providers,” he adds.

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).

Similarly, 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 throughout the forecast.

“Much of this growth can be attributed to continued strong data centre construction in China and construction of large data centres to replace smaller, more dispersed enterprise data centres,” he adds.

“The continued buildout of larger data centres ensures that actual internal data centre space will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% over the forecast period and account for nearly one third of total worldwide data centre space (all types) in 2018.”

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