Massive 65% rise in data centre power consumption – survey

English: You take the high-voltage and I'll ta...

Power requirements surging across globalised data centres – survey

Exponential gigawatts more energy being siphoned into globalised corporate data centres

By ECM Plus staff

ECM Plus /London/ +++ In a sharp rise in expected power consumption by data centres used for cloud computing as a result of globalisation of the IT and corporatist sectors, research firm DCD Intelligence has just taken the wrsps off stark findings from its DatacenterDynamics 2012 Global Census report.

According to their findings, a huge rise in in power requirements globally and a significant increase in the uptake of outsourcing in particular the use of colocation is driving the market.

As far as investment is concerned, results from the census indicate total investment in data centres has grown from approximately US$86bn globally in 2011 to $105bn globally in 2012 – an rise of some 22.1 percent.

Nicola Hayes of DCD Intelligence said: “Our forecast for 2013 shows a slower rate of growth.”

The rise of 22.5 percent was primarily in facilities management and mechanical and electrical sectors including electrical distribution equipment, switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies, power generators, heat cooling systems, security equipment, fire suppression and data centre infrastructure management systems. This cost of such infrastructure was up over 25 percent rising by US$9 billion from US$40 billion to US$49 billion.

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

According to Hayes: “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.”

63 per cent increase in global data centre power demand

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.

Data centre real-estate to rise sharply in 2013

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 24 million square metres to 26 square metres; though a sharper rise by 19.2% to 31 million square metres is forecast for 2013.

Significant increase in outsourcing

There has been a significant increase in the uptake of outsourcing globally – particularly colocation – 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 corporates to outsource rather than lease or buy space.

Commenting on the findings, Zahl Limbuwala, chairman of the BCS Data Centre Specialist Group commented: “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.”


Results from the DatacenterDynamics Global Census illustrates the rate at which the data centre market is growing in Asia Pacific. Total investment in the sector is up 24.2% 2011- 2012 with China showing the highest level of individual country growth in the region. Forecasts from the census predict that this growth will continue into 2013.

The region also shows the largest growth in terms of power requirements with a 48.6% increase in data centre power requirements over the past 12 months compared to 5.3% growth in power requirements in the more mature market of North America. Said Hayes: “These figures reflect the significant build that has occurred in the region over the past 12 months as the market moves towards a more mature level as well as highlighting a potential issue in terms of power provisioning over the next few years’.

South America

Results from the DatacenterDynamics Global Census show that there has been significant growth in the data centre sector in Latin America over the past 12 months although the market remains fragmented throughout the region. Investment in the sector has grown by 31.4%, up from $10.5bn in 2011 to $13.8bn in 2012.

Most facilities are still end user owned and operated and on a small scale in terms of individual data centre size. The region has the lowest percentage globally of companies outsourcing data centre operations to a colocation provider though this is expected to increase over the next few years as the market matures and more state of the art colocation facilities come on line. Power requirements are also rising in the region with a 41.2% increase in requirements over the past 12 months and this too is expected to drive demand for colocation and outsourcing solutions in the sector.

U.S.A. & Canada

Results from the DatacenterDynamics Global Census show modest growth in the North American data centre market especially when compared to Asia Pacific and Latin America. Investment in data centres in North America grew by 14% over the past 12 months, a lower level than seen in previous years. Said Hayes: “It should be remembered that this market is a far more mature one than other regions and so growth levels will naturally be lower than in the developing markets. For example although investment in the Latin American market has grown by 31.4% over the same period the total amount invested is $13.8bn compared to North America where the investment over the past 12 months is estimated to be $44.1bn. The economic climate has however had a slight impact on IT and in particular data centre spend with companies being more cautious than in previous years with regards to where investments are made.”

European nations

In spite of tough economic conditions throughout the region, the data centre sector has continued to show steady growth in terms of investment levels. Results from the DatacenterDynamics Global Census show that investment in data centres in Europe has grown by 13.6% in the period 2011 – 2012, up from $40.5bn in 2011 to $46bn in 2012. Although this growth appears modest in comparison to regions such as Asia Pacific and Latin America (24.2% and 31.4% respectively), it is a similar growth rate to the other mature data centre markets of North America and Europe – which still account for a high proportion of total global data centre investment ($105bn globally).


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