Data centres: a growing construction market

Construction Intelligence Center 20 Feb 2017 GLOBAL BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT & TECHNOLOGY

Youssef Ouchagour, construction industry analyst at Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center, analyses the current state of the global data centre construction market and presents five of the largest data centre projects currently under construction in the world.

According to IBM, in 2013, we created 2.5 quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) bytes of data every day; so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. IDC, a global market intelligence provider for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets, is predicting that the amount of digital data created worldwide will grow from 4.4 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1 trillion gigabytes) in 2013 to 180 zettabytes by 2025.

This rise in the amount of data produced is driven by various factors including the increasing use of smart devices, the growing usage of the Internet and mobile data, digitalization, cloud-based technologies, big data analytics and the Internet of Things. This exponential increase in the amount of data produced is in turn driving the demand for more storage space, which has contributed to an unprecedented growth in the global data centre construction market over the last few years.

Global data centre construction market analysis

According to the Timetric's Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) database, the total value of the global data centre construction market* is $91bn. Leading the way with the highest total value of data centre projects is North America with $45bn worth of projects (109 projects), followed by Asia Pacific with $22bn (51 projects), Europe with $19bn (54 projects), South America with $4bn (14 projects) and finally the Middle East and Africa with $863M (7 projects). The top 10 countries with the highest numbers of data centre projects in descending order are the USA, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Russia, China, India and Singapore.

65% of the global data centre projects are in the pre-execution stages, representing a total value of $51bn, thus indicating a healthy outlook for the data centre construction market. The region with the highest percentage of projects in the pre-execution stages (based on the total number of projects per region) is South America with 71%, followed by both North America and Europe with 64%, Asia Pacific with 62% and the Middle East and Africa with 57%.

* Active data centre projects with a project value of over $25M

SUPERNAP Data Center – Nevada

Switch, a global technology solutions company whose core business is the design, construction and operation of data centres, is building what will be the world’s largest data centre campus on 2,000 acres of land in Tahoe Reno, Nevada.

Named the Citadel Campus, It will be one of the most advanced data centre campuses on the planet, and home to the largest data centre building in the world, the SUPERNAP Tahoe Reno 1 [pictured], with 127,000m2 and up to 130 MW of power capacity. According to Switch, Ebay is expected to take up the entire SUPERNAP Tahoe Reno 1 building. Seven more data centre buildings are planned to be built in the campus, to have a total of 670,000m2 of data centre space.

The Citadel Campus is described by Switch as a technology fortress that is unsurpassed for security, reliability, connectivity, and energy sustainability. Surrounded by a 20-foot-high solid concrete wall, the campus will be powered by 100-percent renewable energy, cementing Switch's commitment to the use of green energy and it will be connected to the Switch Superloop, a 500-mile, multi-terabyte fiber optic network that provides active/active connectivity to San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as the company's 232,000m2 of data centre space located in Las Vegas.

For the first phase of the $1bn project, Bluescope Construction was appointed as the main contractor and F&P Construction as the excavation contractor. In August 2015, the project’s groundbreaking ceremony was held. In Q1 2017, Switch announced the completion of the SUPERNAP Tahoe Reno 1 data centre and the opening of the Citadel Campus. The overall project is expected to be completed in five to ten years.

Sydney East Data Centre – New South Wales

Global Switch, one of the leading owners and operators of large scale cloud and carrier neutral data centre space in Europe and Asia-Pacific, is building a second data centre in its Sydney Campus, which is strategically located next to Sydney Central Business District (CBD).

The new centre will be named Sydney East data centre and will be built next to the Global Switch’s existing Sydney West data centre. When completed, the Global Switch Sydney Campus will span 73,000 m2 with a power capacity of 83 MVA.

The $300M Sydney East data Centre project involves the construction of a 31,000m2, six-story data centre with a power capacity of 32MW. The new data centre will be developed in three stages and is aiming to be one of the most environmentally friendly data centres in the world.

In Q1 2013, construction work on the first stage commenced; a Cockram Construction and M+W Group joint venture has been appointed as the construction contractor. The first stage of the project was completed in Q3 2014 and has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating through the use of a number of environmental features, including technology enabling energy reductions of around 40%, the ability to harvest rainwater and recycle water for use in the cooling systems as well as the installation of a green roof and the use of sustainable materials and components wherever possible.

The final two stages are expected to achieve the same certification when completed. J Hutchinson Pty Ltd has been appointed to design and construct stages two and three of the project. Construction works are currently underway with completion expected in Q2 2017.

AAPL – Viborg Data Centre Development – Jutland

In 2015, Apple announced a plan to build and operate two new data centres in Europe. These data centres will process and store data related to Apple’s online services, such as iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for customers across Europe.

Viborg in Jutland, Denmark was one of the locations chosen by Apple. When completed, the Viborg Data Centre will include 166,000m2 of data storage space, making it one of the largest data centre in the world, in addition to 84,000m2 of office space.

The data centre will take about ten years to complete and will be entirely powered by renewable energy from sources such as wind turbines and solar cells. Apple has also entered into an agreement with Aarhus University to supply the data centre with renewable energy in the form of biogas.

To eliminate the need for additional generators, Apple has located the data centre adjacent to one of Denmark’s largest electrical substations. Excess heat from the equipment inside the facility will be captured and conducted into the local heating system to help warm the homes in the local community. This project is expected to create a number of job opportunities for the local community over the next few years.

On Q2 2015, Gottlieb Paludan Architects and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates were appointed as architects. In Q2 2016, Apple secured planning permission from the council and commenced construction work on the first stage of the project, which is expected to come into operation in 2017.

Sumaré Data Centre – Sao Paulo

Brazil’s largest data centre and infrastructure services provider, Ascenty, is building a data centre in the city of Sumaré, in the State of São Paulo.

The $124M new data centre is being developed according to international standard Uptime Institute Certification for Tier III, in order to offer collocation services, managed hosting, cloud computing, hybrid environments and managed services with high availability guarantee, security and reliability. According to Ascenty, more than 50% of the space in the new data centre has already been leased by major IT companies.

The Sumare Data Centre will have a capacity of up to 200,000 servers, in an area of 20,000 m², in addition to 10,000 m² of raised floor for the computer rooms. The data centre will have an 80 MVA substation, with dual energy approach in 138 kV. Construction on the first phase of the project is underway, and is expected to be operational by Q2 2017.

Isando Data Centre Expansion – Gauteng

Teraco, Africa’s only provider of vendor neutral data environments, is undertaking the expansion of its existing data centre in Isando, Gauteng, South Africa. According to Teraco, this expansion is a response to the growth of the African’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector and the rising demand for data centre space from a number of local and international cloud, content and network providers coming into Africa, as well as from existing clients.

The $70M expansion project will add an additional 17,500m2 to the Isando data centre thus bringing its total size to 9,000m2 of white space and 18,500m2 of utility space. It includes the construction of server rooms, administrative space and related facilities, and the installation of equipment and safety and security systems. Teraco has agreed with the local council a power feed of 16 MVA, this will allow Teraco to adequately power its Isando data centres ensuring they are properly cooled and maintained.

When completed, the Isando Data Centre will be the largest data centre in Africa built in accordance with modern international standards. Construction activities are underway and are scheduled to be completed in Q1 2017. Teraco is already considering further expansion as demand surges for data centre capacity.

* For more information on the construction industry, visit the Construction Intelligence Center.

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