Eighth annual State of the Data Center industry report

AFCOM, the leading membership association for data center professionals, and Data Center World, the leading global conference for data center facilities and IT professionals, today announce the results of the eighth annual State of the Data Center industry report. The report, which has been a fixture at the annual Data Center World industry conference, continues to capture the relentless pace of change in the data center industry.

The research finds that artificial intelligence (AI) is a significant driver in how the industry will be building facilities moving forward. Large hyperscale cloud providers are increasingly accommodating new AI requirements and the need for more computing power. Rapid growth makes finding space and power for smaller markets challenging. As AI requirements grow, there has been a significant surge in demand, with a mounting focus on capacity to meet higher-density data center requirements.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • There are nearly 10,000 colocation and wholesale data center facilities across North America. The average number of facilities per respondent is anticipated to rise from 14 to 22 over the next three years. Alongside the overall increase in facilities, there’s a notable surge in the construction of new data centers, which is expected to multiply sixfold over the next three years.
  • Security remains a continued threat. However, for the first time since the inception of the report, security (both physical and logical) is at the top of the DCIM Implementation Planning list for data center leaders, with 59% currently implemented. Power/energy/environment management is at 56%, cable management is at 55%, asset tracking/management is at 50% and integration with ITSM is at 45%.
  • Last year, fewer than half (46%) of respondents reported their current cooling solutions meet all their requirements. Respondents are turning to liquid cooling for help to support emerging cooling requirements. Today, only 17% of respondents have adopted liquid cooling in their facility. However, an additional third (32%) plan to do so within 12-24 months.
  • The sector’s expansion has necessitated a heightened emphasis on sustainable practices and the exploration of renewable energy sources. Three in four respondents (73%) plan to utilize renewable energy, including 27% who are currently doing so. Respondents believe solar (59%) is gaining the most traction in data center operations, followed at a distance by wind (28%).
  • When it comes to budgets and spending trends, most respondents (54%) report increased operational expenditures in 2023. The top drivers of operational and expenditure increases are increasing energy costs (62%), increasing equipment service costs (57%), and increasing personnel costs (52%).

“We are at the cusp of crafting a digital era like no other. In our world of unceasing connectivity, the reliance on data center operations is skyrocketing, magnifying the indispensability of the resources they provide every moment,” said Bill Kleyman, Data Center & Technology Executive, Board Member, Data Center World Program Chair and Data Center Knowledge Contributing Editor. “The report offers invaluable insights for understanding the evolving digital landscape. We look forward to discussing these trends as well as other critical topics at Data Center World in April.”

The report surveyed data center professionals to determine implementation trends and buying patterns in areas such as: Market and Data Center Trends; Design and Construction of Data Centers; Security Threats; Implementation Strategies; Supply Chain Developments; Cloud Migration Techniques; Cooling, Water Conservation, and Renewable Energy Practices; and Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) Updates.

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