Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Cloud Services Reshaping Datacenter Build Outs 

As global datacenter construction peaks over the next several years, "mega datacenters" are emerging as the primary server location for colocation and cloud service providers, a new industry survey concludes.

Hence, International Data Corp. reported this week, while the number of datacenters being built through 2017 is expected to decline, cloud services that are taking a bite out of traditional datacenter operations will boost overall datacenter space. IDC forecasts that datacenter capacity will rise from 1.58 billion square feet in 2013 to 1.94 billion square feet in 2018.

The market researcher forecasts that global construction of datacenters will peak at 8.6 million in 2017, then slowly decline. The slowdown will be led by a declining number of datacenter server rooms beginning in 2016 and internal server closets in 2017.

At the same time, the number of "service provider datacenters" offering dedicated and shared cloud options is expected to increase much faster, accounting for the overall increase in datacenter space over the next three years.

IDC's global datacenter forecast also notes that most enterprises will turn over internal infrastructure management to cloud and other infrastructure-as-a-service providers over the next five years. That could translate into greater use of on-premise and hosted managed services for existing IT and shared cloud along with "mega" datacenters for new services.

"This will result in the consolidation and retirement of some existing internal datacenters, particularly at the low end," Richard Villars, IDC's vice president of datacenter and cloud research, noted in a statement. "At the same time, service providers will continue their race to build, remodel, and acquire datacenters to meet the growing demand for capacity."

By 2018, the market researcher forecasts that "mega" datacenters are expected to account for more than 72 percent of all service provider datacenter construction. The market researcher also expects the new emerging class of datacenters on steroids to account for more than 44 percent of all new "high-end datacenter" build outs, up from just 19.3 percent in 2013.

Along with mega service providers, more internal high-end datacenter build outs are forecast as older datacenters are replaced or expanded to support new cloud and big data analytics deployments.

Indeed, ever-larger datacenters are rapidly replacing aging, smaller facilities as the provision of cloud services ramps up around the world. The continued build out of larger datacenters accounts for IDC's projection that internal datacenter space will grow at an 8.4 percent annual clip through 2018, with mega centers accounting for nearly one-third of global datacenter space.

Unsurprisingly, China and other emerging economies are leading the new datacenter construction surge. While other regions are replacing existing infrastructure, China is building IT infrastructure from the ground up where little existed before.

As the datacenter evolves, Villars concluded, service providers "will need to step up and become experts at datacenter operations and deployment."