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Data center market on the upswing again in 2019: Data center operators see these trends

January 16, 2019

Matt Pullen, Managing Director Europe at CyrusOne, had a busy year in 2018. In August, the Texan company, which specializes in the construction and operation of data centers worldwide, completed the acquisition of its European competitor Zenium. A short time later, CyrusOne announced the construction of new data centers in London and Frankfurt. In addition, the company is now entering the Dutch market and has entered into a strategic agreement for the construction of data centres near Amsterdam.

In the following, Matt Pullen explains important trends that, in his opinion, will determine the data center market in Germany and Europe in 2019.

Get ready for the data deluge

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have been on everyone’s lips for several years – and the hype surrounding these topics continues. There are good reasons for that. What we considered science fiction just a few years ago suddenly becomes reality. The speed at which changes happen will certainly continue to accelerate.

Autonomous cars are a good example here. In Germany, IT companies, car manufacturers and telecommunications companies have been working on this technology for several years. Automated and networked driving is being tested on several routes in Germany. This spring, the government wants to present a bill that will allow autonomous driving on German roads. 2019 will be a crucial year for bringing autonomous vehicles to the public through taxi services. These autonomous vehicles produce large amounts of data, at least 4 TB per car per day.

Despite all the hype surrounding these new technologies, in reality we are at the very beginning of a digital tsunami that will place a heavy burden on the data centre infrastructure if we want to keep pace with the demand for storage capacity.

The bottom line is that by 2019, the data center industry will be under greater pressure to shorten cycle times and build capacity faster. To meet this challenge, the design and construction of data centres will increasingly move towards simpler, more efficient, minimal and more flexible facilities that are up and running very quickly.

The big gets bigger

We work with nine of the ten largest cloud providers in the world and our business model is closely linked to their need for increased data capacity. The growth of these companies was enormous in 2018 and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue in 2019.

The explosive growth of cloud computing is leading to a long-term demand for data center capacity. As a result, data centers are becoming larger and larger. An average data center in Frankfurt has a capacity of 10 MW. This figure is expected to rise to 35 MW in the foreseeable future. Of course, this will not happen overnight, but everything points in this direction.

Our data center Frankfurt III, which is currently under construction, will offer a critical IT load of 22 MW. Our Frankfurt II data center, which started operations in the summer of 2018, provides less than half of this capacity with an IT capacity of 8.8 MW.

The data center market will continue to grow in 2019. Our focus is on deploying large data centers in key markets to meet the demand of our cloud and enterprise customers in these markets. There will be greater demand for edge data centers. This will also depend on the impact of G5. Edge data centers become necessary to compensate for network overloads.

The hybrid cloud – the new normality for businesses

The time when companies discussed the benefits of cloud migration is over. The debate is now determined by the issue of how quickly a move to the cloud can succeed and what the mix between public and private cloud infrastructure should look like.

According to IDC, nearly half of all IT spending in 2018 will be cloud-based, reaching 60 percent of total IT infrastructure and 60-70 percent of total software, services and technology spending by 2020. Meanwhile, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90 percent of companies will introduce hybrid infrastructure management capabilities.

The switch to a public cloud is widespread today, but only a small part of the core business applications runs in a public or private cloud. This situation becomes apparent when you start to deal with numbers. Take a look at London – there is approximately 260 million square metres of office space in the centre of London. Approximately five percent of this office space is used by servers and IT infrastructure. That’s 13 million square meters of data center space that will move into the cloud.

 

A strong focus on energy efficiency

Large cloud companies, in particular, require large quantities of electricity in a minimum of space. The current density exceeds everything we have seen so far on the enterprise market. This in turn is an incentive to significantly increase the energy efficiency of data centres through innovative cooling systems and thus ensure that the energy use of these buildings does not become too cost-intensive.

The industry is currently discussing possible technologies to help improve energy efficiency in data centers. In some of our data centers we use indirect adiabatic air cooling. Other operators choose to meet this challenge with outdoor coolers, while others still use glycol-based systems that do not require water. I expect further refinement of these technologies in 2019 and the start of a convergence of some favoured cooling options.

 

Bio: Matt Pullen is Managing Director Europe at CyrusOne and in this position is responsible for the European business of the Texas Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which specializes in data centers. Prior to that, he was Global Sales Director for European data center operator Zenium, which was acquired by CyrusOne at the end of 2017.

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