Slow But Steady Growth for Data Centers Through 2015
October 17, 2011 Jenny Thomas
Once again, in contrast to the current economy in the U.S. at least, the analysts at Gartner are predicting an increase in worldwide data center hardware spending, projecting a total of $98.9 billion in 2011, which is up 12.7 percent from 2010 spending of $87.8 billion. The Gartner gurus go on to forecast that data center hardware spending will reach $106.4 billion in 2012, and surpass $126.2 billion in 2015.
Even though Gartner’s finest are saying growth will continue in the world’s data centers through 2015, it looks like it will see a slowdown after the spike in 2011. A little calculating shows that by 2012 the growth rate has dropped to 7.6 percent, and to make the numbers work out the growth has to slow considerably–averaging around 6 per cent each year over the three years–to hit Gartner’s numbers by 2015. That’s still good news for the server, storage, and enterprise data center networking equipment makers who are building and selling the hardware for the world’s data centers. More money is still better than less money.
The Gartner report also took a look at the very largest size category of data centers (classified as data centers with more than 500 racks of equipment), and predicted these centers will increase spending share from 20 percent in 2010 to 26 percent by 2015. The increase is driven by the cloud and the shift from internal data center provision to external, according to Jon Hardcastle, research director at Gartner.
“Traditional in-house enterprise data centers are under attack from three sides,” Hardcastle said. “Firstly, virtualization technologies are helping companies to utilize their infrastructure more effectively, inhibiting overall system growth. Secondly, data centers are getting more efficient, leading to higher system deployment densities and inhibiting demand for floor space. Thirdly, the move to consolidated third-party data centers is reducing the overall number of midsize data centers.”
The Gartner report also found that in 2010, 2 percent of data centers contained 52 percent of total data center floor space and accounted for 63 percent of data center hardware spending. By 2015, that is expected to change such that the biggest data centers account for even more business. Those top 2 percent of data centers will contain 60 percent of data center floor space and account for 71 percent of data center hardware spending. That is some pretty impressive revenue consolidation.
Hardcastle pointed out that worldwide data center hardware spending will once again reach and surpass 2008 levels. “Storage is the main driver for growth. Although only a quarter of data center hardware spending is on storage, almost half of the growth in spending will be from the storage market,” he said.
The compete report, “Forecast: Data Centers, Worldwide, 2010-2015,” is available here.
Gartner analysts will provide more detailed analysis regarding the overall IT spending outlook during the Gartner webinar “IT Spending Forecast (3Q11 Update)” on October 18 at 11 a.m. EDT. Register for this complimentary Webinar here.