DCD Intelligence has released the first of the global findings from the Data CenterDynamics 2012 Global Census, the largest worldwide quantitative survey of the data center industry.

Key findings include the continued increase in investment in the sector, a rise in in power requirements globally and a significant increase in the uptake of outsourcing in particular the use of colocation.

Global investment levels up 22.1 percent

Results from the census indicate that total investment in data centers has grown from approximately US$86bn globally in 2011 to $105bn globally in 2012— a rise of 22.1 percent.

Commented Nicola Hayes, managing director of DCD Intelligence: “Our forecast for 2013 shows a slower rate of growth but still at a very healthy 14.5 percent over 2012 levels with a further $15bn of additional investment.”

The largest increase (22.5 percent globally) in investment from 2011 to 2012 is in the facilities management (FM) and mechanical and electrical (M&E) sectors including such areas as electrical distribution equipment and switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), generators, cooling equipment, security equipment, fire suppression, and data center infrastructure management systems and related services (22.5 percent increase globally). This was up $9bn from $40bn to $49bn.

The IT equipment sector (including ‘active’ equipment such as servers, storage, switches and routers) showed slower growth at 16.7 percent—from $30bn to $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 center markets of North America and Western Europe. Regions such as Asia Pacific and Latin America are the ones really fuelling global data center investment levels.”

Sixty-three percent increase in global data center 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 percent globally to 38 gigawatts (GW) with a further 17 percent 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 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2012. The percentage of medium density racks (5-10kW per rack) has increased from 30 percent to 33 percent.

Requirements for electrical power generation, distribution, UPS and cooling equipment in data centers can be expected to grow as a result of these power increases.

Reduction in ‘concern’ over power availability

Commenting on responses to the 2012 Data Center Census around the world on power availability and cost Hayes noted: “Surprisingly, concern as to power availability and cost – both of which have been constant topics in the media and data center professional groups in recent years -  is actually down on a global basis.

“This is explained in part by the increasing representation amongst the sample of companies in less developed markets where power requirements are smaller and so less constrained than in mature markets. Also in part by efficiency and other strategies put in place by data center companies over the past 12 months to mitigate against increased power costs and to overcome issues to do with availability.”

Data center real-estate to rise sharply in 2013

The global trend for data center ‘white space’—the area in a data center which houses the IT equipment – grew globally by a relatively small 8.3 percent from 24 million square metres to 26 square metres; though a sharper rise by 19.2 percent 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 percent 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 center 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 companies to outsource rather than lease or buy their own space.

Commenting on the findings, Zahl Limbuwala, chairman of the BCS Data Center Specialist Group (whose 1400 strong membership represents all functions and facets of the industry from engineering to software and legal) said "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 center qualifications."

Census 2012 reports can be pre-ordered now and DCD Intelligence is already accepting enquiries for bespoke analysis. Go to http://turt.co/dcd16