Data centers become a vital fifth utility amid COVID-19 with market growth estimates rise to $948bn by 2030, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of data centers and turned them into a fifth utility that is as critical as water, electricity, gas and telecoms, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Businesses are increasingly reliant on data centers to provide cloud services, which will drive a significant market expansion over the next decade. GlobalData forecasts that data center revenues will hit $948bn by 2030, up from $466bn in 2020 and having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% over this period.

GlobalData’s latest Thematic Research report, ‘Data Centers’, reveals that much of this market growth will come from the building of massive hyperscale data centers. New edge data centers will also cater to increasing levels of enterprise-generated data being created and processed outside remote data centers or the cloud. The next few years will also see increased mergers and acquisition (M&A) data center activity, with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) being created to buy up data centers.

David Bicknell, Principal Analyst in the Thematic Research team at GlobalData, comments: “Data center-provided cloud services have allowed remote workers to collaborate with colleagues, provide entertainment for locked-down citizens, deliver online learning and enable online shopping. At the same time, the pandemic-driven accelerating shift to the cloud has put a premium on flexibility. This will, in turn, drive the adoption of new architectures and software-defined, programmable infrastructures within data centers.

“Data centers have gone from anonymity to seeing their staff now designated as key workers. But this new-found utility status may be a double-edged sword. Governments will now have higher expectations of the data center sector. The expansion of data centers reflects the need for increased artificial intelligence (AI) processing capabilities, but these have a poor carbon footprint. With governments focused on climate change, meeting stringent sustainability targets will be an unwelcome reward for an industry that excelled during the pandemic.”

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