In newly published research, IDC reported that the amount of data center capacity in the U.S. is increasing, but the number of data centers is decreasing. The firm expects that trend to continue as virtualization and cloud computing continue to grow in importance.
According to the IDC press release, "The total number of datacenters (of all types) in the United States declined for the first time in 2009, falling by 0.7%, triggered by the economic crisis of 2008 and the resultant closing of hundreds and thousands of remote locations with server closets and rooms. At the same time, total datacenter capacity grew by slightly more than 1% as larger datacenter environments continued to rise despite the economic slowdown. According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), these trends have continued in the years since 2009 and reflect a major change in datacenter and IT asset deployment that will accelerate further in coming years."
ZDNet's Larry Dignan added, "By the end of 2016, more than a quarter of all data center capacity will be owned by service providers, said IDC." Dignan continued, "IDC said it expects the total number of data centers to fall from 2.94 million in 2012 to 2.89 million in 2016. The drop will be due to internal server rooms and closets and a decline in mid-sized data centers. Total data center space will grow from 611.4 million square feet in 2012 to more than 700 million square feet in 2016."
Nathan Eddy from eWeek noted, "The study also highlighted the impact that the dramatic increase of server virtualization has had in reshaping datacenter dynamics, as a fast-growing array of applications and devices used to communicate and conduct business, the rapid digitization of vast amounts of unstructured data, and the desire to collect, store, and analyze this information in ever-greater volume and detail has changed how businesses build, organize, and invest in datacenter facilities and assets."
Writing for Wired, Robert McMillan reported that virtualization and cloud computing have also made data centers more efficient: "Uptime’s Spellmann says that companies that are using virtualization software like VMware or who have bought into cloud-based computing have been able to boost their CPU utilization rates to the 20 percent to 30 percent range. The Googles of the world are probably closer to 50 percent."