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The changing face of the data centre

Chris Player | March 2, 2015
Schneider Electric’s APC partner summit is just around the corner, The firm’s local data centre guru, Andrew Kirker, discussed the state of the market in the lead up to the event.

Andrew Kirker is a man who knows the datacentre market better than almost anyone. As regional general manager datacentres for Schneider Electric, one of the world's largest manufacturers of datacentre infrastructure, he has his finger firmly on the pulse.

"Over the past few years the definition of a datacentre has changed. If you look at the old IDC definition, a datacentre was any piece of infrastructure with active compute. That consisted of 100,000 centres in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ)," he said.

Kirker explained that the real definition of a datacentre is a bit more tricky. Over the past few years, the firm has built or been involved in the construction of close to 1000 facilities in A/NZ,

"You have a changing market at the moment, we are seeing a lot of larger datacentres being constructed. There were 130 super-sized datacentres constructed worldwide in the last twelve months. That's just in the colocation market."

The enterprise end of the market is relatively flat while colocation is on the rise. Schneider's business in the colocation space grew 18 per cent last year.

Kirker identified Sydney as one of the distinct markets for enterprise and colocation datacentres.

"In Sydney, capacity has slightly exceeded demand in the past 12 months but we expect that to even out in the coming year. We are expecting colocation utilisation rates to get up around 90 per cent."

Currently the demand for space is running at about 15 per cent, while supply is at 13 per cent. There are 39 players in Sydney with 67 datacentres and around 35-40 thousand racks. Kirker commented that 50 per cent total datacentre space is now in third party facilities.

"We will continue to see capacity come on line. If IT is the vehicle of commerce, the datacentre is the engine room."

Channel opportunities
"I certainly see continued growth, I see continuing opportunity for the channel as well because it is not a pure outsourced market that we are seeing out there. It is certainly a datacentre ecosystem that is being procured by organisations that are using a mix of colocation, Cloud services and on-premise," said Kirker.

"For partners, if they can get in the middle of that and help their customers navigate that journey, there is a lot of opportunity amongst that, it is one of the themes I will be talking about at the partner summit," he said.

He was quick to point out that demand was a key driver for growth in the datacentre market.

"You're getting that driver of Cloud into colo, you are getting still some pretty big wholesale deals done, the banks have embraced it over the last few years, although most of them are maintaining a mix of on-premise and colo."


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