By Sharad KC

The amount of data collected and stored each day is growing exponentially. This surge has fueled the steady increase in the number and size of data centers as companies are turning to colocation services when it comes to data storage. In an article from last year, the North America Data Center Key Trends Report 2013-2014 saw a 13% increase in the amount invested in data center outsourcing and colocation over the previous 12 months and estimated a further increase of 15% by the end of 2014. As a result, data centers are a hot topic for businesses, economic development committees, and even energy companies as data centers consume up to 3 percent of global electricity production.

Out team at Whittaker Associates has been particularly interested in new data center facilities and those that have expanded recently. We have identified a total of 150 companies that have expanded an existing data center facility or opened a new one during 2009 to the second quarter of 2013. According to Conway Data, which we used to identify these companies, there are at least 50 or more expansions plus new data center facilities every year from 2009 to 2013. Table 1 shows the top states, from 2009 to 2013, in terms of new and expanded projects. Among these companies, at least 66 had two or more projects in the 5 years from 2009 to 2013.

With the growing number of data centers, there are some key challenges for data center managers. Of them, energy efficiency is a prominent one. Data centers are looking to reduce energy costs either by locating in a cold region or regions offering inexpensive energy. An article from 2013 reports that the top five data center problems facing data center managers today are Real-Time Reporting, Performance Management, Capacity Planning, Monitoring, and Energy Efficiency.

As we keep track of these data centers and upcoming activities in this industry, we will be updating our Most Active Companies – Data Center list. Our timely monitoring of these companies will further help us in evaluating and finding opportunities for ourselves as well as our clients.