Continuing unprecedented demand for new data centres, fears around the shortage of skilled professionals, concerns about the future disruption of 5G and the limited impact of Brexit are some of the key findings from the latest industry survey from Business Critical Solutions (BCS).
The Summer Report, now in its 10th year, is undertaken by independent research house IX Consulting, who capture the views of over 300 senior data centre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users. It is commissioned by BCS, the specialist services provider to the digital infrastructure industry.
The report highlights the rising demand for data centres with almost two thirds of users exceeding 80% of their capacity today, 70% having increased capacity in the last six months and almost 60% planning increase capacity next year.
This demand is currently being driven by cloud computing with over three quarters of respondents identifying 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as disruptors for the future. With industry predictions that edge computing will have 10 times the impact of cloud computing in the future, half of respondents believe it will be the biggest driver of new data centres.
However, the survey found that the market remains confident that supply can be maintained, with over 90% of developers stating they have expanded their data centre portfolio in the last six months.
With regards to supply, there are concerns that a shortage of sufficiently qualified professionals at the design and build stages will cause a bottle neck, with 64% of data centre users and experts believing there is a lack of skilled design resource in the UK.
AI and Machine Learning may help to mitigate these issues with nearly two thirds of respondents confident that data centres will utilise these to simplify operations and drive efficiency.
The political uncertainty around Brexit continues to impact the sector with 78% of respondents believing that it will create an increase in demand for UK-based data centres.
However, the overall feeling was that the fundamentals underpinning the demand for data centre space, such as the continued proliferation of technology-led services, outweighs these concerns and the European data centre market will overcome any difficulties that occur.
Commenting on the report, James Hart, CEO at BCS, said: “As always this report makes for fascinating reading and I was encouraged by the overwhelming positive sentiment to forecast growth and the limited impact of Brexit.
“The fact that half of our respondents believe that edge computing will be the biggest driver of new data centres tallies with our own convictions.
“We believe that the edge of the network will continue to be at the epicentre of innovation in the data centre space and we are seeing a strong increase in the number of clients coming to us for help with the development of their edge strategy and roll-outs.”