When making decisions about new data center facility and colocation investments, business and IT leaders at midmarket firms prioritize network connectivity options, resiliency levels, and the level of control over the data center facility, according to a commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Digital Realty Trust, Inc.

Digital Realty’s 2014 survey of data center trends in North America focused on midmarket firms (up to $500 million in revenue), whereas previous annual surveys targeted global enterprise organizations ($1 billion or greater in revenue). The survey canvassed data center decision makers on a broad range of topics, including current facilities and budgets, future plans and influencers, and investment criteria.

Respondents identified network connectivity options, including carrier availability and carrier density, as a top priority in data center investment decisions (82%), followed by resiliency level and availability of the data center facility (80%), the level of control over the facility (78%), and access to cloud and other partners (75%).

“We feel the results of this survey validate our understanding of the requirements of our midmarket clients,” said Digital Realty Interim CEO Bill Stein. “Our midmarket clients increasingly are seeking a single source for all their data center requirements, including not just power, space, cooling, and connectivity, but also access to strategic partners such as cloud services, network services, and managed service providers. The recent introduction of our Digital Partner Network, which was kicked off by our alliances with tw telecom and Level 3 Communications connecting our facilities to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, is an important step in this direction.”

Strong Expansion Plans
Data center capacity is crucial to midmarket businesses for both internal and external operations. Today, even midmarket firms require multiple data center sites to meet these requirements. More than one-third of the businesses surveyed (41%) have at least four data centers and the majority (53%) requires more 2,000 square feet or more of data center space. This includes both internally owned data centers/server rooms and outsourced, hosted, and colocated data centers.

When surveyed regarding their future plans for data center capacity planning, respondents overwhelmingly (88%) indicated they are planning some form of expansion within the next four years, either by provisioning a new site or by expanding a current site.

Mr. Stein continued, “Data center demand continues to be robust. According to IDC/EMC, the digital universe is doubling in size every two years, and is expected to multiply tenfold by 2020. Our clients need data centers to support this growth. Furthermore, it’s interesting to note that more than 60% of our first quarter lease signings were from cloud infrastructure providers; cloud remains a key data center demand driver.”


Guest speaker Forrester Research, Inc. analyst Sophia Vargas and Digital Realty Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Matt Miszewski will discuss the survey findings in a 60-minute webinar on Friday, May 30 at 9:00 PT/ 12:00 ET. Please register for the webinar at http://events.digitalrealty.com/forrester-webinar. The webinar will also be available via a replay on the Digital Realty website.

Survey Details

In this Digital Realty-commissioned study, Forrester Research conducted an online survey of 1,030 organizations in the US, UK, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, France, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland to evaluate their data center investment plans and drivers. Survey participants included senior-level decision makers in IT, finance, and line of business roles with responsibility for data centers. Results of the North American portion of the study are based on surveys of 233 senior-level North American decision makers with responsibility for data centers at midmarket firms with up to $500 million in revenue. The study began in January 2014 and was completed in February 2014.