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Efficiency drives data centre growth

The demand for greater energy efficiency will continue to be a key driver of data centre market growth, and in turn cooling technology, according to a new sector report.

According to the AMA Data Centre Construction Market Report - UK 2014-2018 Analysis it is estimated that cooling and air conditioning equipment within data centres is worth around £263m at installed prices per annum, while the market for data centre construction is estimated to be valued at around £1.1bn in 2013, following two years of high level growth.

The report states: “Energy efficiency is one factor that is likely to continue to affect the market in the long term. Power can account for as much as 40 per cent of the operational costs of a data centre, so the focus on optimising power usage is important.

The focus on energy efficiency is also continuing to stimulate product development.” In terms of design, the report states that more consideration is being given to site-specific solutions, such as natural air cooling, water cooling for sites that are near water or positioning data centres underground. One example is of a data centre for Bristol Council that was placed underground next to a moat, with water from the moat being used to cool the data centre.

Demand is expected to continue to grow, particularly from technology, media and content providers, with the financial sector also expected to pick up following some definitive signs of economic recovery in early 2014.

However, much of this demand is likely to be absorbed by existing vacant data centre space as more businesses opt for the co-location model.

The impact of the government’s data centre consolidation project has yet to be fully felt in the market. This is likely to lead to a reduction in the value of RMI and upgrade spend on data centres from 2015 onwards.

An increasing usage of technologies such as virtualisation and the ever increasing processing power of servers will increase the pressure on building services, such as cooling, the report says.

The trend for data centre construction projects to increasingly take place outside of the M25 area is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

This is driven by the high cost of land in London, the upgrading of IT infrastructure in other parts of the country and the growth in cloud computing, where services can be delivered over the internet regardless of the location.

Over the past few years a large number of co-location providers have established a presence outside of London. However, the market performance has been variable, with falls during 2009 and 2010 as a result of the economic downturn affecting a number of key sector for data centres, such as financial services and retail.

Sign up for Data Centre Cooling Question Time on 28 March in central London. The event will see a high-profile panel discuss the latest thinking on the operational and design considerations behind the most efficient and highest performing cooling data centres, as well as the technology trends in cooling the facilities. Email andrew.shields@emap.com or visit RACplus.com for more details

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