Australia data centre investment revs up despite global economic turmoil

Australia not far behind Brazil, Russia, India and China, says DCD Intelligence analyst Nick Parfitt.

Australia is showing a greater rate of data centre growth than the US and top-tier European countries, according to early data compiled for DatacenterDynamics’ upcoming 2012 global industry census. Globally, data centres are showing immunity to overarching economic problems, analysts at DCD said.

Census research continues until 27 July and DCD is still taking surveys from data centre officials through its website. A final report is expected in September.

Australia is “different from a lot of the economies we have studied, in that [its] economy for the past few years has been moving forward,” DCD Intelligence analyst Nick Parfitt told Computerworld Australia. That said, the analyst cautioned that mining drives the Australian economy and it’s difficult to estimate how much of that goes to IT.

There’s “quite a lot of money coming into the Australian economy,” pushing up the rate of growth, Parfitt said. Australia recently has seen great investment in data centres, with recent launches of the NextDC M1 in Melbourne and the Equinix Sydney 3, which comes online in the next business quarter, he said.

Australia is “not very far behind some of the markets you associate with very strong growth,” including Brazil, Russia, India and China, Parfitt said. And it’s growing faster than the U.S. and many European countries, he said. The U.S. and Europe largely “are moving forward in a single-digit way, rather than the double digits you associate with Australia.” However, the U.S. and tier-one European markets have more existing infrastructure, he noted.

Whether Australian data centre growth keeps up in the coming years depends on “the customer market to its north,” Parfitt said. However, there is “a demographic movement towards information technology globally … that makes work for data centres.”

Globally, the data centre market grows despite economic woes, DatacenterDynamics said. There are 2.11 billion Internet users globally, but “this still only accounts for around 30 [per cent] of the world’s population leaving wide room for further growth,” it said. Last year’s report predicted 7 per cent growth worldwide from 2011 to 2012, with some developing markets showing rates up to 60 per cent.

“Whilst countries with highly developed data centre markets will almost certainly see lower growth figures than previously enjoyed, all indicators … point to continued growth across the sector,” said DCD Intelligence managing director, Nicola Hayes, in a statement. “This is particularly so in under-developed countries—as investors, technology companies and Governments in those areas continue in their efforts to ensure they stand a chance of competing in an IT enabled world.”

Data centres have been more immune from economic problems than other areas because IT is a key enabler, Parfitt said. “People are doing more with IT than they ever have before and they are requiring more of it,” he said. “That requires more ICT capacity somewhere.”

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