How data centre investments are transforming IT industry – and why it won’t slow down


As global spend on cloud infrastructure continues to rocket, leading cloud providers have to up their game and invest billions of dollars in expanding their network of hyperscale data centres.

That’s according to the latest data released by Synergy Research. The company notes the top four cloud providers – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, and IBM – have approximately 110 data centres located in 20 different countries.

More than $25 billion has been spent in recent merger and acquisitions related to data centres, Synergy argues, with Equinix, Digital Realty, NTT and IBM at the head of operations. IBM’s $2bn acquisition of SoftLayer in 2013, while NTT’s spree of acquisitions over the past five years includes Dimension Data ($3.2bn), Raging Wire ($0.4bn) and e-shelter ($0.5bn). Digital Realty has over the past five years bought 365 Main ($0.7bn), Sentrum ($1.1bn) and Telx ($1.9bn), while Equinix purchases Switch and Data in 2010 ($0.7bn) and is pending completion of buying TelecityGroup for $3.4bn.

This overall trend relates to a huge impact over how companies support their IT needs. As previous Synergy reports have explored, the four leading cloud infrastructure service providers are growing at rates far in excess of the market. Similarly, as service provider data centre spend continues to go up, outlay on enterprise data centre equipment remains static.

“This is a time of unprecedented change in the IT industry,” explained John Dinsdale, a chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research. “End users are getting access to flexible and agile IT services that they could only dream about a few years ago and CIOs are pulling back from buying and managing their own data centres.

“It’s all change,” he added. “Companies like AWS and Microsoft are now major players in enterprise IT; IBM is totally reinventing itself; companies like Equinix and NTT are amassing huge data centre footprints, while HP and Cisco are aggressively growing their cloud technology business units.

“We do not expect the rate of change to lessen over the coming years.”