For more than a decade, Dean Nelson watched, read, and has been involved in hundreds of discussions about the size of our industry. How many data centers are there? How are they classified? How much capacity is built? How much power is used? Who is using it? How efficient is it? What’s the carbon footprint? How fast is it growing?
These are very important questions, but the industry never seems to have clear, defensible answers. Most are estimates based on extrapolations of data that only see part of the picture.
This InterGlobix Magazine article explores the concept of digital infrastructure and its role in supporting the modern digital economy. It argues that digital infrastructure is the foundation on which the modern world runs and comprises a complex network of interconnected components such as data centers, fiber optic networks, and internet exchanges.
A few highlights:
Data center global energy consumption estimates ranged from 1% to 10% with most saying it was below 2%. The issue is that these are still estimates, not definitive answers. On the other hand, hyperscalers like Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft have accurate numbers since they build and operate their own data centers. They know the capacity, consumption, and efficiency down to the second because it matters to their bottom line.
In the beginning of 2021, Synergy claimed there are 600 hyperscale data centers, doubling since 2015. In November of 2021, Bill Kleyman reported that traditional data centers have shrunk from 50% to less than 25% of the market, replaced by hyperscale data center growth. That development continues with gigawatts of new capacity in the pipeline.
The article explores the various sectors of the digital infrastructure industry, including data center providers, cloud service providers, and telecommunications companies. The author notes that while these sectors may have different focuses and business models, they all play an important role in supporting the digital economy.
The concepts outlined in this article are meant to get the creative minds in our industry thinking about how to apply these concepts. We have multiple sessions planned with iMasons members and partners to continue the deep dive into carbon accounting and lowering the impact of Digital Infrastructure. I encourage everyone to join us!