Shipments of containerized data centers are forecast to grow 40 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, following a near doubling of the market in 2012. Containerized solutions have been around since 2005, but only in the last two years has the market begun to establish itself. These findings are from an upcoming report on the industry from IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc.

IMS Research has defined a containerized data center as a pre-fabricated, fully enclosed, mobile, structure that houses data center infrastructure. Within that definition three distinct product types were identified: all-in-one, IT, and facility containers. Shipments of IT containers will account for the greatest share in 2012. One facility container often supports multiple IT containers, which has an effect on ratios. The figure below shows how the product share will shift over the next five years, with IT and facility containers growing faster than all-in-one solutions.

Regionally, the greatest number of containerized data centers will ship to North America in 2012. Some of the earliest adopters of containerized solutions are headquartered in the US: Google, Microsoft, eBay and Amazon. While growth will continue to be strong for shipments to North America, shipments to China are forecast to grow at nearly double the rate over the next five years due to the rapid growth in data centers in the region and the need for faster deployment times.

IMS Research believes that this market needs to reach price parity with traditional data center builds to ever achieve widespread adoption. IMS Research’s Senior Analyst Liz Cruz explains, “The benefits of containerized data centers are significant: mobility, speed of deployment, off-site manufacturing, outsourcing of design, and potential tax savings. Unfortunately, the current higher price of containerized solutions, as compared to like-for-like traditional builds, outweigh these benefits in many customer decisions. However, IMS Research believes that standardization of products, and the resulting economies of scale, will allow for prices to drop and the market to really take off.”