Survey Sees Major Expansion of World’s Data Centers

Survey Sees Major Expansion of World’s Data Centers
The next great expansion of the world’s digital infrastructure is under way in developing markets like those of China, Brazil and Argentina, according to a global census of the industry released on Monday.
Despite growing concerns of a global economic slowdown, the companies that construct and operate data centers that run the Internet and store vast amounts of corporate and government data expect growth next year to match levels last seen in the world economy’s boom years: about 19 percent.
The census focused on data centers, the buildings and complexes filled with the computers that operate the Internet, store and process e-mail, preserve medical records, carry out Web searches and perform countless other tasks for corporations, governments and other organizations. The London-based company that released the results, DatacenterDynamics, said it conducted some 5,400 interviews this year with industry officials around the world. Those officials are responsible for about 100,000 data centers, the company said.
The officials interviewed cited the cost and availability of energy for their power-hungry computers as their top concern in planning future operations. Such energy concerns were driving them to design more efficient data centers.
But the predicted shift away from the Western United States, and out of the United States entirely, may also be related to those concerns. The census, which expressed its results in energy use, showed a projected increase of 46 percent in China over the next year.
“Imagine what might happen when India and China get the pedal to the metal in terms of data center growth and the effect that will have upon global energy consumption in the sector,” said George Rockett, a co-founder of DatacenterDynamics.
The company said that projections of brisk growth in the Nordic countries could be partly a result of the availability of renewable energy there.
The findings received mixed reviews from other experts in the field. Jonathan G. Koomey, a consulting professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at Stanford University, pointed out that the projected growth rates were “self-reported” — estimated by the companies themselves rather than by outside analysts, who would presumably be more objective.
A study that Mr. Koomey released in July indicated that while power consumption by data centers doubled from 2000 to 2005, it grew at a much slower pace in the next five years. He cited cutbacks caused by the recession and more efficient computing facilities as contributing factors.
Still, if the new figures are correct, they suggest that the industry is recovering its footing, he said.

By  for the New York Times

The next great expansion of the world’s digital infrastructure is under way in developing markets like those of China, Brazil and Argentina, according to a global census of the industry released on Monday.

Despite growing concerns of a global economic slowdown, the companies that construct and operate data centers that run the Internet and store vast amounts of corporate and government data expect growth next year to match levels last seen in the world economy’s boom years: about 19 percent.

The census focused on data centers, the buildings and complexes filled with the computers that operate the Internet, store and process e-mail, preserve medical records, carry out Web searches and perform countless other tasks for corporations, governments and other organizations. The London-based company that released the results, DatacenterDynamics, said it conducted some 5,400 interviews this year with industry officials around the world. Those officials are responsible for about 100,000 data centers, the company said.

The officials interviewed cited the cost and availability of energy for their power-hungry computers as their top concern in planning future operations. Such energy concerns were driving them to design more efficient data centers.

But the predicted shift away from the Western United States, and out of the United States entirely, may also be related to those concerns. The census, which expressed its results in energy use, showed a projected increase of 46 percent in China over the next year.

“Imagine what might happen when India and China get the pedal to the metal in terms of data center growth and the effect that will have upon global energy consumption in the sector,” said George Rockett, a co-founder of DatacenterDynamics.

The company said that projections of brisk growth in the Nordic countries could be partly a result of the availability of renewable energy there.

The findings received mixed reviews from other experts in the field. Jonathan G. Koomey, a consulting professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at Stanford University, pointed out that the projected growth rates were “self-reported” — estimated by the companies themselves rather than by outside analysts, who would presumably be more objective.

A study that Mr. Koomey released in July indicated that while power consumption by data centers doubled from 2000 to 2005, it grew at a much slower pace in the next five years. He cited cutbacks caused by the recession and more efficient computing facilities as contributing factors.

Still, if the new figures are correct, they suggest that the industry is recovering its footing, he said.

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