he top 35 cloud and colocation service providers opened 10 million square feet of data center capacity in 2H20 according to Omdia’s latest Cloud & Colocation Data Center Building Tracker, despite lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 51% of the new capacity was brought online by colocation service providers and 48% by cloud service providers.
For 2021 Omdia is estimating roughly 20 million square feet of new data center capacity, notwithstanding adjustments for data center construction projects that may flow into later periods.
In Omdia’s recent Colocation Service & Leadership Strategies N.A. Enterprise Survey-2020, 49% of colocation using respondents indicated the pandemic has encouraged them to accelerate their use of colocation services.
Both cloud and colocation service providers have experienced consistent growth over the last few years, but new demand drivers created by the pandemic are accelerating long-term data center capacity expansion plans. A Microsoft executive, recently quoted in a Microsoft website post, said they expect to open 50 to 100 data centers per year for the foreseeable future.
Alan Howard, principal analyst in the Cloud and Data Center Research Practice at Omdia, said, “With each update to the data center building portfolios for service providers we track we make adjustments to their anticipated opening date if needed. Cloud and colocation service providers have rather different building schedules.
“Colocation providers are usually right on the money opening data centers as scheduled, which is a function of meeting customer demand. Cloud data center build cycles, on the other hand, can span anywhere from 12 months to 30 months, and occasionally longer.”
“Colocation, of course, is a critical piece of the puzzle as enterprises of all kinds need not just rack capacity for IT infrastructure, but also the broad interconnection capability needed to reach their multi-cloud providers and partners. This is a requirement for digital transformation initiatives that is difficult for many enterprises to achieve on their own based on its complexity and cost,” Howard added.