The total number of data centres in Australia is expected to peak at 49,577 this year, but will be followed by a slow decline to 45,545 by 2015 because of virtualization, according to analyst firm Gartner.
Only 10 data centres out of the total figure are classed as large facilities, which are defined by the analyst firm as having at least 1000 racks of equipment and at least 20,000 square feet, while 90 are classed as enterprise data centres with at least 250 racks of equipment and at least 5000 square feet. The vast majority are classed as single deployments or small racks in computer rooms in smaller companies.
According to Gartner, Australian organisations are also forecasted to spend $2 billion on data centre hardware in 2012, up from $1.83 billion last year.
Gartner Australia research vice-president, Phil Sargeant, said that Australian businesses are focussed on improving data centre economics, coupled with agility and management.
“To achieve this, many are considering virtualization-led consolidation to migrate three to five physical sites into one to two sites. This may also involve new data centre build-outs in many cases,” Sargeant said in a statement.
A focus group held by Gartner in 2011 with 15 Australian data centre executives from different industries found that data centre modernisation, virtualization-led consolidation, evaluation of new alternatives for traditional data centre outsourcing and disaster recovery (DR) are the key priorities attracting investment in the coming years.
According to the executives, overall data centre spending would remain constrained as businesses expect reduced data centre budgets and a greater return on investment.
The focus group confirmed that there is increasing dissatisfaction with the existing data centre outsourcing model in Australia because of high cost structures, support issues and vendor lock-in.
“Australian organisations in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are beginning to reconsider their decision of continued data centre outsourcing and a few are contemplating starting a new captive data centre build-out due to dissatisfaction, especially where there is a change to the existing model of outsourcing or where organisations are evaluating the Cloud,” Sargeant said.
Not every analyst firm is predicting a decline in data centre numbers, however. IDC Australia has forecasted that the data centre market requires an additional $8 billion worth of construction if Australia is going to have a sustainable IT economy in the future.
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