Thursday, November 23, 2017

Monthly Review: Welcome to the digital-dependent society on data centres, cloud and data

The first month of 2017 has not disappointed. We saw big acquisitions, large data centre openings, many partnerships and a shifting geo-political landscape that is shaping the industry for the months ahead. Here’s the highlights.

January was a month of big figures. $3.5tr, the amount expected to be spent on IT in 2017. $175bn, the amount to be spent on data centre systems. $48bn, the predicted colocation and wholesale data centre market revenues by 2021.

The values show the ever growing digital-dependence of societies around the world on the data centre, as the data economy starts to deliver its first results.

However, we also saw this month that despite businesses’ dependence on data centres being on the rise,  many are still lacking the knowledge to identify the services they need and spot misleading providers.

We covered the story of ServerLoft, a Brazilian IT services provider, which left 16,000 customers without access to their data in the country’s “largest digital blackout” ever.

The case is far from over as the lawyer in charge of representing several customers  exclusively explained to Data Economy here. Caught up in the controversy are other companies such as Equinix, Dell, Juniper Networks and VMware. We will continue to follow this story.

Also in Brazil, a power cut is said to have been the reason of an IBM data centre going offline, with some customers experiencing up to eight hours of downtime.

On the other side of the ocean, in Europe, data centres were also hit by a power outage in Amsterdam which killed two people. We spoke to local providers Equinix and Switch Datacenters on the incident.

A lesson from this outage, came however from the CEO of The Data Center Group, whose facility in the Dutch capital experienced mechanical problems during the power cut.

CEO Siemon van den Berg was quick to react and inform customers, proving how crucial it is for companies today to be transparent and constantly in contact with their clients.

This month we also found that the UK is going for a ‘hard-Brexit’, and saw many moves influenced by this. For example, a subsea cable linking Marseille to New York is avoiding “the chaos around Brexit” with those in charge telling companies to “avoid the UK completely and go directly to New York”.

We also heard a Microsoft manager hitting at the possibility of the company moving its data centre focus elsewhere, should Brexit-UK increased tariffs. Microsoft was quick to react saying the comments were not “reflective of the company’s view”.

But not all was bad. French cloud provider OVH finally lifted the veil on its UK data centres, with three set to open in East London in the coming months. In its announcement, the company labelled London as the tech city of Europe. Can Brexit destroy that?

As industry leaders pointed out at the Finance and Investment Forum 2017, the UK will not close down for business after Brexit and it is still early to say what is going to happen. ‘Uncertainty’ seems to remain as the keyword.

In the Nordics regions, the industry keeps accelerating and taking new disruptive approaches. For example, Stockholm has set a goal to have 10% of the capital’s heating needs powered by data centres. (Air France has also used heat from its data centre in its offices.)

Facebook has made headlines for finally confirming it is building a data centre in Odense, Denmark. We explored why the web scale giant has chosen Denmark for its third non-US data centre while it aims for five billion users worldwide.

940Km away, in Vilnius, Lithuania, a shocking decision by the government to halt the construction of a data centre over fears it could be used by Russian hackers to spy on the county caught many by surprise.  Developers have appealed against the decision and promise to fight for the hub to be built.

The decision was taken in the wake of a debate in the US over fears Russia had interfered with the elections in November 2016. And this brings us to one of the biggest events of year: the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House on January 20.

In one week, President Trump has reshaped American politics and caused much stir amongst different sectors, including the technology one which has seen bosses at Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Tesla and more blast out against some of the policies. Data Economy has run down a list of things that will not happen under Trump’s presidency to give some peace of mind to the sector.

In the data centre space, the US government is on a journey to reduce IT costs in the Army, but plans seem to have stalled forcing the Army Secretary to intervene.

Elsewhere in North America, we saw HPE invest $650m on data centre startup SimpliVity, Facebook’s new Los Lunas data centre is predicted to generate a $2bn local economy, Equinix secured $1bn to fund its Verizon acquisition, and Switch Supernap got a critical yes for its $5bn pyramid data centre.

In the MEA region, Ooredoo expanded its data centre in Qatar while in Tanzania, the government is preparing to ban all data centre builds by the public sector in a push to force them to use a Tier III facility run by TTCL.

Lastly, the APAC region which wants to place itself as the next leader for digital services and China seems to be taking the lead. The country has launched a $14.6bn investment fund to become an internet superpower.

Also in China, Hong Kong and Shenzhen put a 20-year-old border dispute behind their backs and announced the construction of a 13 million sqf innovation and technology park days after Huawei moved its data centre out of Shenzhen, which awakened old rumours the company is looking to relocate its HQ.

In India, Sify Technologies, which works with 43 data centres in the country, received a warning from NASDAQ on low shares price. The Indian data centre infrastructure market has also been predicted to be on a 3.72% CAGR until 2020, when it should top $2.45bn market cap.

In Malaysia, data centres are to profit on $244m, while in South Korea the Tata Group is readying to build a data centre aimed at the country’s $1.8bn connected car market and in Singapore, Singtel opened a $280m 570,000 sqf data centre.

We close this monthly roundup going back to the Word Economy Forum, held in Davos and where tech executives, celebrities and world leaders, pointed to the possibility of social unrest worldwide if governments fail to deploy technology while keeping humans part of the revolution.

Here’s Data Economy’s January 2017 top most read:


1) Elon Musk gets closer to worldwide internet dream .Read more.


2) Deadly Amsterdam power outage knocks-down data centres .Read more.


3) Exclusive. Equinix faces being sued after 16,000 lose server access in Brazil’s ‘largest digital blackout’   .Read more.


4) IBM Brazil data centre outage prompts cloud scare .Read more.


5) CES 2017: Tier IV data centre launches to serve Pan-Caribbean region (and it’s category 5 hurricane proof) .Read more.


6) ‘Avoid UK completely, go directly to New York’: New Brexit subsea cable to link EU-US .Read more.


7) Rise of the digital age will see banks hit by API economy .Read more.


8) Terrorist threat in UK capital leads telco to move away from London data centre .Read more.


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