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The Cloud Wars: Global Data Center Footprint Trends

The cloud is, by its very nature, a global phenomenon. But the ever-increasing demand for cloud-based applications, by both businesses and consumers, is driving new data center footprint trends. 

Many tech-centric operations have been building at a breakneck pace. Their data center construction plans extend well into the next five years. Their growth has not been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, nor the recession. They follow a common formula, as Tim Shaheen, Executive Vice President  of Strategy & Development at Aligned, tells Data Center Frontier:  “These projects require a high level of standardization, modularity, and scalability, with a simple and repeatable model for expansion in new or existing markets.” 

IOT, Internet of things telecommunication concept data centerCompanies expanding new and existing data centers work to deliver reliable infrastructure as quickly as possible using the formulaic approach described above. As they do, they are also building safety, efficiency, and operational standards that work in any corner of the world.

Here, we touch on the factors driving global expansion and two primary expansion strategies. The end goal is always the same—providing an improved value proposition to clients. This can be done while maintaining consistent standards of safety and excellence.

The Three Primary Purposes of Expansion

#1: Keeping up with accelerating consumer demand

Users want lower latency, reduced risk, a better user experience, and improved application performance. They also want to retain important data in-region. General cybersecurity concerns push many enterprises to keep their data close by—particularly because they want to be able to quickly handle issues such as government or court requests for data.

#2: Staying competitive

Expanding in new and emerging geographies is a focus for many of the biggest tech firms in the world. There is considerable potential associated with expanding in regions that don’t already have significant IT infrastructure already in place.

#3: Processing more data 

The amount of data in the world was estimated to be 44 zettabytes at the beginning of 2020 (a zettabyte being 1,000 bytes to the seventh power.) This is due in large part to:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT): Including smart TVs, video games, streaming services, and phone data
  • Social media: Now used by more than half of the world’s population
  • Cloud computing: Growing at a CAGR of 18 percent to reach an estimated $623 billion by 2023

Strategies for Global Data Center Market Expansion

Going to the Local Cloud

For many data center customers, the best cloud is a local cloud. This concept is pushing much of global data center growth in 2020 and beyond. “Global data center hardware and software sales for public cloud infrastructure increased 3 percent year over year to $13 billion, accounting for 37 percent of the total market in the first quarter of 2020.” (Synergy Research Group, 2020) 

Public or hybrid cloud services provided regionally can also offer low latency and high bandwidth. It can boost raw performance numbers, drawing in many discerning clients. Finally, there is improved data storage and security; people want to know where their information is going—localizing the cloud makes that happen.

Hyperscale Data Centers

Hyperscale data centers are substantially larger than standard data centers, operated by the biggest names in the industry. According to Synergy Research, the number of hyperscale DCs topped 500 in the third quarter of 2019. “The hyperscale data center market is poised to rise from USD 20 billion in 2018 to over USD 65 billion by 2025,” according to a 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report.

Today’s most advanced facilities include best-practice safety procedures and lifting machinery designed specifically for data centers to prevent accidents. Hyperscale data centers serve bigger audiences and process bigger amounts of data faster, providing an efficient global growth strategy that meets a clear and present need.

Focus on Quick & Systematic Data Center Growth

Growing a cloud, hyperscale, or data center global footprint requires an increase in long-term capacity planning along with a focus on quick server capacity deployment. Corporate IT infrastructure growth is often managed using a master services agreement (MSA). Analysis 3d rendering server computers or mainframe computer in warehouseincludes identifying redundancies in current spaces and opportunities for new audiences in need of data center resources.

Prefabricated components can accelerate construction. Some providers use land banking, locking down “megaleases” for expansion. And “megahalls” are now seen in many hyperscale centers, adding thousands of square feet to the standard data suite. The tech and telecom sectors are meeting customer demand with not only new data center expansion, but also mergers and acquisitions to increase their footprints.

Best Practices In Data Center Footprint Expansion

As we’ve shown above, tech giants are growing at exponential rates. They are thriving despite economic uncertainty. Smaller corporations can glean many best practices from their example. The following questions are good ones to ask before an expansion is considered:

1. Have we adequately audited all efficient and redundant data center spaces?

2. Do we understand current customer growth patterns, and how localizing our data centers will be of assistance?

3. Have we sourced the expertise needed for working with the laws and regulations of other countries?

4. Have we sufficiently equipped larger facilities with sufficient equipment-handling machines, so equipment can be lifted safely and with fewer individuals needed each time equipment is unpacked, installed, transported, or removed? 

5. Can we identify what gets outsourced and what does not? 

6. Will resellers and importers be required to meet foreign standards for equipment? 

7. Will a separate company run our foreign data centers, or will our enterprise maintain global oversight?

8. What is the environmental impact of planned data center growth?

Following these measures can help to ensure safe and efficient build-out for IT infrastructure companies of all sizes. ServerLIFT deploys to and  serves data centers in nearly every country in the world. Click here for global service and support.

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