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Data Centers Up in Size, Not Numbers

A significant decline in the number of data centers is expected by 2016, according to research firm International Data Corp (IDC).

As more data is moved to cloud-based applications, IDC says by the end of 2016, more than a quarter of all large data centers in the United States will be owned by service providers.

According to the report, for the first time in 2009, the total number of data centers in the United States fell by 0.7 percent. IDC says this decline was triggered by the economic crisis of 2008 and the “resultant closing of hundreds and thousands of remote locations with server closets and rooms.”

However, on the other hand, total data center capacity grew by slightly more than 1 percent as larger data center environments continued to rise despite economic slowdown, according to IDC.

IDC experts say the total number of data centers in the United States will decline from 2.94 million in 2012 to 2.89 million. With a “very small” decline in mid-sized local data centers, this decline will mainly be focused on internal server rooms and closets.

However, the report also notes that despite the decline in data centers, total data center space will increase dramatically, “growing from 611.4 million square feet in 2012 to more than 700 million square feet in 2016.”

According to the report, the creation, organization, and distribution of files and rich content are among the reasons for rapid growth and thereby the increase in storage deployments.

Various dynamics bringing about this change in the U.S. data center market, according to the report, include:

  • The fast-growing variety of applications and devices used to communicate and conduct business.
  • The rapid digitalization of vast amounts of unstructured data.
  • The desire to collect, store, and analyze such information in greater volume and detail.
  • The aggressive use of virtualization.

“CIOs are increasingly being asked to improve business agility while reducing the cost of doing business through aggressive use of technologies in the data center,” said Rick Villars, vice president, Data Center and Cloud Research at IDC in a statement.

Villars adds, “At the same time, they have to ensure the integrity of the business and its information assets in the face of natural disasters, data center disruptions or local system failures. To achieve both sets of objectives, IT decision makers had to rethink their approach to the data center.”

According to IDC, “the report provides a forecast of data center investment plans through 2016 and assesses the impact of changing industry business models as well as IT and network developments on data center design, build and management.”

IDC’s report also includes a new data center taxonomy which was based on IT personnel control, physical location, types of applications supported, power and cooling, downtime, floor area and staff skills sets.

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