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Europe’s datacenters to grow in 2012

Space is still in demand, but costs will be more considered according to Digital Realty Trust reportEurope’s datacenter footprint looks set to expand in 2012, according to a new report by Digital Realty Trust which solidifies the strength of the EU datacenter market but also shows a more cautious approach to investment. Despite the economic crisis experienced across the Eurozone, 85% of respondents said they intend to expand in 2012, compared to 82% in 2010. Of these, however, only 23% said expansion plans “will definitely take place” compared to 25% who were sure of their plans in 2011 – a possible reflection of the tough economic times. Digital Realty Trust VP of Sales for Europe Adam Levine said the research includes responses from 200 senior decision makers in European businesses with revenues of more than £500m or more than 2,000 employees across six European countries. “The latest research confirms what we see in the market: that demand for datacenter space in Europe has not abated,” Levine said. “However, the decision-making process for procuring additional datacenter space is lengthening as businesses are obviously wary of committing to such a substantial investment given the current challenges facing euro-zone countries and their trading partners.” The research covered companies in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Ireland with questions put forward to senior IT executives or those in senior management positions in IT, finance and real estate and those responsible for procuring datacenter space. Of these, the 8% that said they required more space, with respondents requiring an average of 15,600 sq ft, compared with only 14,500 sq ft in 2011. “Just over half the organizations surveyed (51%) intend to spread this across at least two new sites,” the report said. Partners will play a role in the build out for 32% of respondents – nearly double the rate seen for 2010 but self-build is still preferred by a majority - 42% - of respondents. Regional breakdown of datacenter growth The report highlighted some interesting regional trends. Most companies questioned said they would expand regionally rather than internationally. Expansion will be most sought after by UK and Spanish businesses (35% and 3% of respondents here feel the need to expand). While in the French and Dutch markets, only 14% and 12% (respectively) of local businesses want to invest. Most of these datacenter expansions will take place in established business centers, with London (31%), Paris (26%) and Frankfurt (18%) being the most likely markets to see growth in 2012. “Despite concerns that rising local taxes will disincentivize investment in new datacenters, operational considerations remain a priority when determining the suitability of a location: site availability, security, connectivity and accessibility to local staff were all listed as priorities over regional charges,” the report said. Sustainability stronger in Europe The survey results also highlighted the growing push in the EU datacenter market to be more green, and lean. In 2011 18% of respondents said they did not have access to average PUE information for their datacenter, whereas this year that had reduced to 12%. PUEs also dropped from an average of 2.66 in 2011 to 2.61. A decrease in average power rates – from 5.5kW per rack in 2011 to 5.3kW per rack in 2012 – was also recorded. But DRT warns these could go up again as companies look to expand with more power intense racks. “The results underpin the need for an informed, experienced approach to planning and developing a new datacenter in order to minimize the potential risks involved,” Levine said. The research was carried out by Campos on behalf of Digital Realty Trust between 24 October and 3 November 2011.
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