Making datacentres accessibleIntroTo the untrained eye, the datacentre industry may seem to be a sector restricted to huge technology companies such as Google, Microsoft and IBM that own vast amounts of storage space around the world. There’s no denying these tech giants will continue to dominate the future landscape – Google for example is adding three new advanced centres in Asia to its roster at the start of 2013, with many more in the pipeline.
But alongside the obviously enormous needs of multi-billion-pound IT specialists, many small-to-medium-businesses are finding themselves with an ever greater need for storage space. This trend can only continue as elements such as cloud computing become even more prominent.
These smaller businesses generally lack the ability to privately fund their own datacentres, and are on the lookout for more affordable and flexible options. Property firms can accommodate these needs by offering the kind of finance and lease terms usually associated with buying office space
The flexibility that property developers can offer is the key to supporting this new type of demand. I think it’s important to offer a range of different sized, powered shells and ask customers how they would like to use them, rather than designing a data centre in a certain way and telling customers how to use it. Every business is different and their varying needs reflect this. This is the model we are using for our own datacentre.
New figures from commercial real estate advisor CBRE note that take-up of data centre space in Europe shot up by 33 per cent in Q1 this year. While this figure fell for Q2 the total take up for 2012 is set to at least match last year, and is still head and shoulders above most other property markets. By contrast, Investment Property Databank Ltd recently found that commercial property values in the UK have fallen for nine straight months as the double-dip recession continues to bite.
These figures mark out the datacentre market as a strong choice for property investors like myself. More than this however, they also reflect on the steadily changing nature of the business world and the growing prominence of the IT infrastructure datacentres provide.