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Politics and the data center industry are challenged

Bitkom study: Data center market growing significantly / Sustainability becoming increasingly important
News | 28.02.2022

The study "Data Centers in Germany" looked at the current market developments of the data center landscape in Germany, which was conducted by the Borderstep Institute on behalf of the digital association Bitkom. The results of the research were published a few days ago and clearly show that the capacities of data centers in Germany have continuously and significantly increased over the past five years - and the trend is still rising. It points out issues and trends in the market and gives indications of potentials and opportunities of digitalization. Furthermore, it shows where there is still untapped potential, especially with regard to the sustainable operation of data centers.

"The German data center market is growing significantly. We have observed this development on numerous levels as part of the study and found that there are many opportunities, but also numerous challenges that need to be overcome."

says Ralph Hintemann. He is a partner and senior researcher at the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability in Berlin and conducted the study together with his team. His particular scientific interest is the sustainability potential of digitalization.

Measured in terms of the maximum power consumption of the installed hardware, capacities increased by 30% between 2016 and 2021, according to the findings of the Bitkom study. There are currently just over 3,000 data centers in Germany, each with more than 40 kW of IT connection capacity. In total, there are around 50,000 smaller IT installations and data centers in Germany. "The growth in the data center market is due in particular to the increasing expansion of cloud computing offerings in Germany," Hintemann emphasized in the interview. "Here we are seeing very significant growth."

The study shows that this trend will continue unabated. Data center capacities in Germany will continue to increase in the future. By 2025, they are expected to increase by more than 20% compared to 2021.

Edge data centers are becoming increasingly important

These results of the study also clearly show that smaller data centers at the edge of the Internet - so-called "edge data centers" - will also become considerably more important in the future. According to the Bitkom study, experts assume that edge data centers will develop strongly, especially for autonomous driving and energy supply management. They enable low latency times, for example, also for the field of augmented reality and especially for 5G mobile communications, according to the assessments. Edge data centers would gain in importance especially in locations with high data volumes and local data processing where possible.

"Edge data centers are also Data Center Group's answer to the ever-changing challenges of the IT market",

emphasizes Jörgen Venot (International Sales Director, Data Center Group).

The share of co-location data centers in IT capacity is also increasing significantly, according to the results of the study. According to the study, at least 10,000 companies in Germany were using colocation services. By 2025, the colocation share of data center capacities will rise to 50% - especially to meet the needs of so-called hyperscalers such as Google, Amazon, Meta & Co.

The growth also poses new challenges for data center companies such as the Data Center Group. "The demands on data centers in terms of energy efficiency are constantly increasing and sustainability is playing an increasingly important and significant role. This is where we come in with new innovative concepts to optimally reconcile digitization and climate protection," says Jörgen Venot.

The research results of Ralph Hintemann's team clearly underline it: Due to the growing importance of data centers, it is necessary to make their construction and operation as energy-efficient and climate-friendly as possible. Efficiency potentials must be identified and exploited. The electricity required to operate data centers must be produced in as climate-friendly a manner as possible. Requirements for the climate-neutral operation of data centers, according to the study, must be defined transparently and comprehensibly. Concepts for waste heat utilization, for example, should be developed to drive development here as well.

"It is important to consider the topic of sustainability in its entirety. In addition to the ecological perspective, companies must also include all other aspects of this complex of topics in their concepts," says the expert. "Above all, it will be very important to clearly define what is meant by specifically sustainable and climate-neutral data center operations. It is essential to create a uniform understanding here in order to be able to plan and act on this basis. We need clear terms and frameworks. This is a challenge for politicians and the data center industry," emphasizes Hintemann.

Source Bitkom study (Published In German only):

The Data Center Group editorial team conducted the interview with Ralph Hintemann on Feb. 24, 2022.

Picture: © Photocreo Bednarek / #423520711 / (Standard licence)

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