The demand for data transfer and storage has significantly increased over the past few years and is expected to continue to do so till 2022, driving data center expansion and investment. Escalating Internet and mobile data traffic has led to data growth; global Internet IP traffic is likely to rise from 6.8 ZB (zettabyte) in 2016 to 24.6 ZB by the end of 2022, representing nearly a four-fold increase over six years. Meanwhile, the rapid adoption of smart phones has led to greater mobile Internet penetration, which is anticipated to increase from nearly 50 percent of the total mobile users in 2017 to more than 70 percent in 2022.
The demand for data transfer and storage has also resulted in storage and compute solutions becoming more complex and advanced, creating a shift towards virtualization, modularity, edge computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The data center by itself evolving from the traditional brick and mortar model to a self-contained modular design. This trend will play a crucial role in the expansion of the overall data center market, especially with the advent of 5G and edge computing.
Rapid advancements in the field of IoT, IoE, and 5G are accelerating growth in edge applications in data centers. As the 'compute' moves to the edge of the network to achieve better latencies, there will be a surge in the number of smaller new edge data centers across the world. The edge data center market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.3 percent from $768 million in 2017 to $3.6 billion in 2022. The need for edge-based data centers arises due to latency, growing data volume, and reduction in data processing at large data centers.
The other important trend within the data center market is AI. AI will play an increasingly important role in not only addressing challenges such as unplanned down time, especially those caused by power and cooling failure and human error, but also in enhancing and optimizing the overall performance of the data center. With machine learning and deep learning algorithms offering condition-based maintenance for critical power infrastructure, data centers will be able to reduce costs and enhance efficiencies of key components, such as power, cooling, and DCIM.
There is a steady increase in the rate at which in-house data centers are being transitioned to third-party service providers for cost and management benefits. North America and Europe are leading the way with the high growth of co-location data centers, followed by MEA. Data center budgets and investments worldwide have been on a steady growth trajectory over the past three years, and is expected to continue for the next five years. Global data center investment is forecast to grow at 9.1 percent in 2019, which is higher than the previous year’s growth rate of 8.5 percent. Enterprise class data centers earned the highest share of investments in 2017 at 57.4 percent, and will continue to be the biggest segment over the next five years.