Digital Realty Trust, Inc. has completed its annual study of the North American data center market and is reporting trends that are expected to impact the industry in 2011 and 2012. The study, which was conducted by the respected research firm Campos Research & Analysis, is based on a detailed survey of senior decision makers at large corporations in North America who are responsible for shaping their companies’ data center strategies.

“There are a number of interesting data points in this year’s study. Consistent with our experience, one key finding is how decisively the industry is moving toward a model that relies on the expertise and resources of datacenter specialists,” said Michael F. Foust, chief executive officer and director. “The lease vs. own analysis has long been a consideration for the corporate enterprise customer. Increasingly, enterprises appear to be favoring the lease model as fewer companies are choosing to go it alone on these capital-intensive projects. Unlike many of the large Internet companies, many enterprises that participated in the survey are choosing to lower costs and minimize development risks by working with a data center specialist. I believe we will continue to see an increase in the number of companies partnering with a focused data center provider such as Digital Realty Trust as more companies seek to reduce the risk exposure and significant capital outlays for these projects.”
  • Only 51 percent of respondents who plan to expand their data centers in 2011 reported considering the do-it-yourself approach for any of their upcoming datacenter projects, a decline of 6% from last year’s results
  • 60 percent of respondents pursuing datacenter expansion in 2011 plan to lease data center space from a wholesale provider rather than build their own facilities-an increase of 7 percent over last year, which follows an upward trend over the past few years.
“Another clear finding in this year’s study relates to the overall strength of the datacenter market. More than 80 percent of companies that participated in the study are planning datacenter projects in the immediate future, indicating that the robust pace of growth in the datacenter industry will continue over the next couple of years. This is in addition to the 65 percent of respondents who say they have built or acquired a new datacenter in the past 24 months.” said Mr. Foust.
  • 85 percent of respondents will definitely or probably expand in 2011-a 4 percent increase over last year’s results-and a similar number will definitely or probably expand in 2012.
  • 72 percent of respondents project an increase in their data center budget in 2011. The average budget increase is estimated to be 7.7 percent over 2010.
  • The leading geographic locations cited by respondents for these datacenter projects in the U.S. are the New York/New Jersey metro area, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas, and internationally are London, Mumbai, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
  • Based on data from respondents who plan to expand their datacenters in 2011, the average maximum IT load is 2.8 MW of electrical power and the average size is 18,000 sq ft for their datacenter expansions.
“Two data points in this year’s study also corroborate something we know anecdotally from our work with customers. First, datacenter projects have become very high-profile discussions involving the highest levels of companies’ management teams and second, new datacenter projects are being driven by the pursuit of energy efficiency and lower energy costs,” added Mr. Foust.
  • 59 percent of respondents reported that C-level executives have become an integral part of the decision-making process for datacenter projects.
  • Power efficiency ranked as the #1 reason for new datacenter projects, rising to the top spot from #4 in last year’s study.
Other noteworthy data points from the study include the following:
  • The average number of datacenters operated by respondents is 3.9, and nearly one-fifth reported having six or more.
  • 59 percent of respondents expect increases in server density in the range of 5 to 20 percent in the next 12 months.
  • 76 percent of respondents meter power usage, indicating the continuing widespread adoption of power metering as a best practice for datacenter operations.
  • The average reported PUE energy efficiency rating is 2.8; 26 percent of respondents reported a PUE of 3.0 or more-underscoring the significant opportunity for improved efficiency and energy savings in existing corporate datacenter facilities.
A webinar hosted by Digital Realty Trust and Forrester Research about the results of this datacenter industry survey and trends in the datacenter industry is available Digital Realty Trust also plans to report the results from similar studies of the European datacenter market and the collocation/hosting market in separate announcements.