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Microsoft, Amazon and Google Account for More Than Half of Hyperscale Data Centers

In the data center world, the biggest players are getting even bigger. Just three tech giants now make up a majority of all hyperscale data centers, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group, which tracks data center development.

An Amazon data center in Sterling, Virginia

Microsoft, Amazon and Google account for more than half of the world’s 597 hyperscale data centers, which are large-scale data center campuses that host cloud infrastructure and services. The number of hyperscale data centers has more than doubled since 2015, according to Synergy, and there are another 219 in various stages of planning or building.

“There were 111 new hyperscale data centers opened in the last eight quarters, with 52 of those coming onstream in 2020 despite COVID-19 causing a few logistical issues,” Synergy chief analyst John Dinsdale said in the company's report. “That is testament to the ongoing robust growth in the digital services that are driving those investments, particularly cloud computing, SaaS, e-commerce, gaming and video services. We did actually see a handful of older hyperscale data centers shut down in 2020, but those numbers pale besides the number of newly opened or planned sites.”

The companies with the largest data center footprints are Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM, which each operate at least 60 data centers globally. The U.S. has the most data centers of any country, with 39% of the world’s total footprint of hyperscale facilities. 

Among the tech giants, data center expansion looks as strong as ever. In the last 12 months, Amazon and Google opened the most new data centers, accounting for half of the 2020 buildings. Oracle, Microsoft, Alibaba and Facebook were also particularly active, according to Synergy. 

Recent land deals suggest sustained data center development by the leading tech firms. Much of the activity is still taking place in Northern Virginia, the largest and densest data center region in the world. 

In October, Microsoft acquired 46 acres in Prince William County, Virginia, for a large data center, adding to existing land holdings in the area, according to the Washington Business Journal. This month, Amazon snapped up 46 acres in nearby Fairfax County, just a few miles east of a Loudoun County site where the company plans to build a 1.75M SF data center campus, according to the WBJ.