Mission Criticalhosted part one of our three-part webinar Building a Greenfield Data Center last Wednesday. Judging from the number of registrations and the duration of the event, I'm expecting to see a number of greenfield projects underway soon. In fact, attendees at this session suggested that they were planning at least 40 projects in 2010 or 2011. A full quarter of the respondents expect to build a facility of at least 20,000 square feet.  

These results suggest that demand for data center services remains strong, even in the face of a lagging economy. Of course, these seems counterintuitive, especially to those of us who remember the pain of the bursting dot.com bubble and the resultant excess capacity. 

For that reason, it is important to remember what's driving the current expansion. 1. Solid business plans 2. Cost savings Today's data center occupants are not speculative companies hoping not to make a profit but to attract a purchaser eager to add a new algorithm to an equally speculative business. Today's business plans are being hatched by real companies, selling real products and services. In fact, the recession could be said to be driving much data center construction because well-run, well-managed, energy-efficient data centers can save money across the enterprise. Of course, this is not the only driver. Increased regulation drives many projects, as does consolidation, and even surprisingly strong consumer and business demand. 

I'm optimistic that we will continue to see groundbreaking and breathtaking new announcements in the headline and a spate of smaller data centers being built, even in this economy. It's not too late to be part of our greenfield series. Part 2 is on April 15th, and part 3 is on May 13th. You can register at webinars.missioncriticalmagazine.com. While there, you can also view the archived part 1 presentation.