What's Driving the Insatiable Demand for Data Centers
People’s obsession with all things data (think Facebook, Instagram, email, wearable tech) is helping fuel the current data center business boom. This morning, 380 industry folks gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons to learn much more about what's driving demand at our national Data Center Investment Expo (DICE).
451 Research research director Kelly Morgan, a speaker, says Northern Virginia recently pulled ahead of New York and New Jersey for most square footage of operational data center space in North America. (Big applause from the crowd.) Half of NoVa’s square footage is in Ashburn and 300k SF is added in NoVa annually. The vast amount of data center space is being taken up by enterprise data centers (which operate data storage on behalf of companies), she says, and they're not disappearing. At least half of them have built a data center in the past three years.
Several factors are pumping the data center industry, say QTS Data Centers EVP Tag Greason and RagingWire Data Centers chief revenue officer Douglas Adams (holding the mic), speakers on our Future of Data Centers panel this morning. Among the biggest: big data activities and consumers’ insatiable appetite for high-bandwidth content.
Consumers aren’t the only ones excited about the possibility of the Internet of Things. Data center operators contend that the amount of data being produced by this technology is only going to drive demand for their service. EdgeConnex CEO Randy Brouckman says the challenge and opportunity is making sure the data centers get the right infrastructure in place to deal with all the data points.
Another trend is that data center clients are asking about more unusual amenities. Former Softlayer CEO and former IBM cloud innovation GM Lance Crosby says the data center has to be able to accommodate customers who may need to bring in a huge number of servers in one day, so the dock area is important. Compass Datacenters CEO Chris Crosby says clients are also asking about how flexible the provider is over the 30 or so years the company will be in the space. Some data centers are even adding climbing walls and lounge areas for employee enjoyment.
Before any talk of data centers started, however, we had a good crowd participate in speed networking. It was a productive flurry of business card exchanges and short conversations about everything from “What do you do?” to “How many data centers do you operate?” Stay tuned for more coverage of DICE, including the casino night that closes out the conference this evening.