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Volta Data Centres Blog

Colocation hotspots- by Phil Alsop, Editor, DCS Europe Published 

Posted by Volta Newsroom on 26-May-2017 09:08:39

“There is nothing more wonderful than a list, instrument of wondrous hypotyposis”

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

By the end of this blog, you might find yourself disagreeing with Mr Eco, but hang on in there, as I promise to reveal the meaning of the world ‘hypotyposis’, and along the way I’ll provide you with a selection of colocation lists (courtesy of figures published by Cloudscene) and accompanying comments (provided by me). Furthermore, I would recommend all of you who have never read the book, or seen the film, of ‘The Name of the Rose’, to do so. A blog where you learn a new word, plenty of information about the colo market, and a book/film recommendation – I think we’ll call it a ‘hybrid blog’!

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Anyhow, to our colocation lists.

First up, let’s look at the top ten cities in terms of the number of colo facilities located in each. Brexit or not, it’s impressive to discover that the top three global colo cities are London, Washington DC and San Francisco/the Bay Area. Of course, anyone not English reading this blog, and seeing that the author is English, might assume that I’m biased, and have ‘massaged’ the figures to ensure that London comes out on top. But no, London seems to have 20 or 30 more colo facilities than Washington DC, which in turn has 10 or so more than SF/Bay Area and, just behind, Dallas. I’m guessing that the reason for these numbers are somewhat self-evident. Oil and gas, plus a Texan Silicon Valley, seem to give Dallas the edge over those other European colo hotspots – Paris and Frankfurt.

Further down the list, we return to the US, and Chicago and Los Angeles, before making our first visit to Asia, with Tokyo making number nine on the list, ahead of Amsterdam, Japan’s near-neighbour Hong Kong, and finishing up in Toronto.

Country-wise, the colo big hitters don’t quite mirror the city list, but it’s not difficult to see a close correlation between the two lists. The USA is ahead of the UK, Germany and France, followed by Australia and then The Netherlands. Then we’re off to Canada, Japan and India, before returning to Europe courtesy of Italy, Sweden and Russia.

So, right now, the western world dominates, but it’s no secret that the Asian colo market is growing at a faster rate than any other regional colo market, so there’ll be few surprises when China joins the colo hotspot list, and I can’t help but feel that both the size and location of Turkey make it a prime target for the colo industry, political instability aside. The size limitations of Hong Kong and Singapore mean that, while strategically important, neither is likely to make the hotspot list in terms of colo numbers. And Sydney has a significant colo population, but is it likely to experience spectacular growth? Unlikely.

Brazil is the last of the BRIC countries in terms of colo numbers, but significant growth is possible, depending on how the rest of the South American market develops (ie will they be happy to use Brazilian colo facilities, or want to develop their own?).

Focusing on Europe specifically, after the countries that featured in the global hotspot list come Switzerland, Spain and Poland. Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Ireland follow.

I’m sure a statistician could draw up all manner of weird and wonderful connections between the size of a European country’s colo market and its performances at the European Football Championships, or the Eurovision Song Contest, but I guess it’s fairly obvious that the colo market size isn’t a million miles away from the GDP numbers.

In terms of the likeliest growth areas not already mentioned, there’s a fair suggestion that some of the mid-sized US cities might become increasingly important as the idea of edge computing becomes a reality. And it may be that some European cities experience significant growth for the same reason – secondary cities may well pick up business away from the capital city/main country locations.

The good news is that, even if only a fraction of the hype surrounding Big Data, IoT and more general digital transformation comes true, then the colo market will continue to grow. One or two major Asian cities will replace some of the US and Western European cities in the hotspot league table over time, but I imagine that the top colo hotspots as outlined in this blog are unlikely to change significantly as a group any time soon.

As for the definition of ‘hypotyposis’, the HarperCollins online dictionary suggests: ‘A figure of speech by which something not present is represented as though present’, while Wiktionary offers: ‘A vivid, picturesque description of scenes or events’.

I’ll stop short of providing you a synopsis of ‘The Name of the Rose’ – after all a murder mystery involving medieval monks in Italy doesn’t sound like compelling material!

Topics: Volta News

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