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Data centres will be fewer, but larger: IDC

CloudInfrastructureLeadership

With the growing popularity of cloud services and hosted services, IDC Corp. is forecasting there will be fewer data centres in the future. The ones remaining, however, will be larger.

According to a new report from the research firm, the total number of data centres worldwide is expected to peak in 2017 at 8.6 million and then begin a slow decline, thanks to a decline in internal data center server rooms and internal server closets. However, service provider data centres will continue to strongly increase, and the total worldwide data centre space is forecast to grow from 1.58 billion square feet in 2013 to 1.94 billion square feet in 2018.

The transition is being driven in part by the changing role of the data centre. No longer just the place where a company houses its servers, IDC says it’s becoming a primary point of engagement and information exchange with customers, employees and partners and is more critical than ever to business success with ever greater demands for uptime and quality of service, meaning managing the data centre can no longer be a part time job.

“Over the next five years, a majority of organizations will stop managing their own infrastructure,” said Richard L. Villars, vice-president, data centre and cloud research at IDC, in a statement. “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 datacenters for new services. This will result in the consolidation and retirement of some existing internal datacenters, particularly at the low end. At the same time, service providers will continue their race to build, remodel, and acquire datacenters to meet the growing demand for capacity.”

The key data centre category going forward is expected to be the service provider “mega data centre” favoured by collocation and cloud service providers, which is expected to account for 72.6 per cent of all service provider data centre construction by space by 2014, and 44.6 per cent of all new high-end data centre space.