The pandemic has turned data centers into a ‘fifth utility’

For businesses in the UK, data centers have become just as important as water, electricity, gas or telecoms, according to the data and analytics company GlobalData.

Describing data centers as the “fifth utility”, the company says various businesses are now “increasingly reliant” on data centers to provide cloud  services that will drive “significant” market expansion over the next decade.

According to GlobalData, data center revenues will reach $948 billion by 2030, up from $466 billion in 2020. The company expects the market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7 percent over the period.

Most of the growth is expected to come from the construction of massive hyperscale data centers, the report further states. Enterprises will create entire mountains of data that will sit at new edge data centers and be processed outside remote data centers or the cloud.

GlobalData expects the number of mergers and acquisitions in the data center industry to pick up the pace as well, with special purpose acquisition companies being created to acquire data centers.

“Data centers have gone from anonymity to seeing their staff now designated as key workers. But this new-found utility status may be a double-edged sword,” said David Bicknell, Principal Analyst at GlobalData.

“Governments will now have higher expectations of the data center sector. The expansion of data centers reflects the need for increased artificial intelligence processing capabilities, but these have a poor carbon footprint. With governments focused on climate change, meeting stringent sustainability targets will be an unwelcome reward for an industry that excelled during the pandemic.”

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