Hyperscale data center count passes the 500 milestone in 3Q - report

The number of hyperscale data centers hit a new high-water mark in the third quarter, according to Synergy Research Group.

The number of hyperscale data centers increased to 504 at the end of 3Q, which tripled the total from the beginning of 2013. The total number of data centers increased by 55 over the last four quarters, which marked a bigger increase than was seen in the previous four quarters, according to Synergy Research Group (SGR).

Over the past four quarters, new data centers by likes of Google, Amazon Web Services, and Alibaba Cloud have been opened in 15 different countries with the U.S., Hong Kong, Switzerland and China having the largest number of additions.

“There were more new hyperscale data centers opened in the last four quarters than in the preceding four quarters, with activity being driven in particular by continued strong growth in cloud services and social networking,” said John Dinsdale, a chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research Group. “This is good news for wholesale data center operators and for vendors supplying the hardware that goes into those data centers.

"In addition to the 504 current hyperscale data centers, we have visibility of a further 151 that are at various stages of planning or building, showing that there is no end in sight to the data center building boom."

Among the hyperscale operators, SRG said Amazon and Microsoft have opened the most new data centers over the past 12 months. Those two companies accounted for more than half of the total, while Google and Alibaba were next most active companies. Google has been vocal about the opening of new data centers in places such as Finland and other parts of Europe as well as the U.S.

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On a regional basis, the U.S. still accounts for close to 40% of the major cloud and internet data center sites, but the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions continue to have the highest growth rates. The U.S. still has a commanding lead in regards to the number hyperscale data center locations, followed by China, Japan, the UK, Germany and Australia. Combined, those six countries account for 69% of the worldwide total.

More than 70% of all hyperscale data centers are located in facilities that are leased from data center operators, or owned by partners of the hyperscale operators.

Not surprisingly, the companies with the biggest data center footprints are the leading cloud providers, including Amazon, Google and IBM. Each has 60 or more data center locations with at least three in each of the four regions – North America, APAC, EMEA and Latin America. Oracle also has a notably broad data center presence.

The rest of the pack tends to have their data centers focused primarily in either the U.S. (Apple, Face book, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo) or China (Alibaba, Badu, Tencent).

SRG's research was based on an analysis of the data center footprint of 20 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms, including the largest operators in SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, search, social networking, e-commerce and gaming.