Spotlight: European Data Centre

2020: a tipping point for the data centre industry

The Homo Digitalis bloom

Just 10 years ago the first iPad was released. At the time, the idea of having a tablet device was great, but its actual usefulness was less clear. Today smartphones and tablets are so commonly used that we tend to forget how we managed without them. In 10 years, the tablet market has been propelled into the mainstream. From Q2 2010 to Q2 2020, 1.6 billion tablets have been shipped worldwide.

As of 2020, 59% of the global population is connected, against 26.6% in 2010. According to Global Web Index, internet users spend 6.43 hours online each day on average, equating to approximately 100 days per year. With an eight-hour sleep a day, that means we currently spend more than 40% of our waking lives using the internet, clicking, swiping, liking, tweeting, both creating and using data simultaneously.

As Covid-19 moved the world online, the amount of data generated has surged impressively. According to Domo, in 2020, in one minute 404,444 hours of video are watched globally on Netflix, 42 million messages are sent on WhatsApp, $1 million is spent shopping online, Amazon ships 6,659 packages and Zoom hosts 208,333 users. Internet users generate 2.5 quintillion (18 zeroes) bytes of data every day.

Besides, the amount of data collected in industry and commercial business is also increasing at an unprecedented rate triggered by the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and blockchain. According to Cisco Systems, by 2023, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications could represent 50% of the 14.7 billion connections expected. In comparison, these M2M communications represented 33% of the 6.1 billion connections in 2018.

To accommodate this explosive rise in demand for storage capacity, the number of global data centres is rapidly expanding. The number of hyperscale data centres worldwide more than doubled between 2015 and Q2 2020 from 259 to 541 according to Cisco Systems. Whilst, this is generating many opportunities for operators, developers and investors, it also raises some challenges for the whole industry’s market players, including sustainability of such growth, cybersecurity and data sovereignty, connectivity from core to edge to avoid latency, reliabilities and outages, rapid innovation and induced obsolescence.

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