Datacenter Trends

Hyperscale Datacenters Hit a New Milestone

The number of large datacenters around the globe operated by hyperscale providers grew to 504 in the third quarter, which is triple their number at the beginning of 2013.

Researchers at Synergy Research Group reported the 500-plus milestone last week. They noted that the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific regions continued to have the highest growth rates, but also that the United States still accounts for almost 40 percent of the major cloud and Internet datacenter sites.

"There were more new hyperscale datacenters opened in the last four quarters than in the preceding four quarters," said Synergy chief analyst John Dinsdale in a statement, "with activity being driven in particular by continued strong growth in cloud services and social networking. This is good news for wholesale datacenter operators and for vendors supplying the hardware that goes into those datacenters."

Dinsdale added that Synergy has its eye on an additional 151 hyperscale datacenters at various stages of planning or building, "showing that there is no end in sight to the datacenter building boom."

Over the last four quarters, new datacenters were opened in 15 different countries, Synergy reported. China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia collectively accounted for 32 percent of the total number of the additional hyperscale datacenters. 

Hyperscale operators Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft opened the most new datacenters in the past 12 months, the researchers found, accounting for more than half the total. Google and Alibaba were the next most-active operators.

Synergy research indicates that more than 70 percent of all hyperscale datacenters are located in facilities leased from datacenter operators, or are owned by partners of the hyperscale operators.

Synergy's research is based on an analysis of the datacenter footprints of 20 of the world's leading cloud and Internet service firms, including the largest operators in SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, search, social networking, e-commerce and gaming, the firm said.

Not surprisingly, the companies with the largest footprints are AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM, with each operating 60 or more datacenter locations. Oracle also has a datacenter presence, the firm noted in its report. The other notable operators -- Apple, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Yahoo -- have located their datacenters primarily in the United States. Meanwhile, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have located theirs in China.

Definitions of "hyperscale datacenter" vary slightly, but essentially the term refers to facilities built with stripped-down, commercial, off-the-shelf computing equipment supporting millions of virtual servers called "nodes" that offer storage, software components and networking.

A hyperscale datacenter solution is designed to provide a single, massively scalable compute architecture developed from individual servers. The hyperscale datacenter can accommodate increased computing demands in a smaller physical space, and with less cooling and electrical power.

Virtually every analyst and industry watcher with an eye on the hyperscale datacenter market has been expecting the surge of Big Data and the demands of new cloud-based, data-driven applications to fuel significant growth in this market. According to Synergy, hyperscale operators are investing in this technology at a record pace. In the Q2 of this year, they spent an estimated $28 billion on building, expanding and equipping hyperscale facilities.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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