The UK is now one of the largest data centre markets in the world, housing up to 7.6 million square metres of data centre space, according to the DatacenterDynamics Industry Census 2011, which brings together data from 5,400 interviews carried out with data centre operators and suppliers during June and July 2011.

By extrapolating from power consumption, on the basis of a UK average of 4.22kW per rack, the Census suggests a “population” of just under 2 million equipment racks.

The Census also revealed that British data centres consume 6.4 GW of power annually – enough to power 6 million homes – and that this is set to increase by 6.7% over the next year. This figure is well behind the 19% global average increase in power consumption, according to the census, highlighting that rack power density is increasing as part of the growing efficiency of UK operations.

The data compiled by DatacenterDynamics has been combined with research and data sets from other sources, such as commercial real estate advisor CB Richard Ellis, to model data centre markets and predict future demand.

Based on this research, the organisation predicts that UK data centre investment will grow by £2.15 billion over the next year, enabling the construction of new data centres and upgrades to existing facilities. The greatest growth will be in the South East of England, where investment is expected to increase 68%. Other areas likely to benefit include the North West and the Midlands.

Meanwhile, Scotland and the North East of England are pushing ahead in terms of data centre development. However, as smaller markets, these regions are subject to greater year-on-year variation, and are more easily influenced by large projects or clusters of projects falling into one investment year or the next.

“When you look at the size of the operations of just a handful of organisations, you quickly get a sense of the market’s scale,” said George Rockett co-founder of DatacenterDynamics.

“We believe the numbers released today well reflect the UKs position as a leading global data centre market, and look forward to refining the model and using it in other markets,” added Andrew Jay, Head of Data Centres EMEA, CB Richard Ellis.

The UK is positioned third in the overall Data Centre Development Index (DCDi), which ranks markets according to their state of development, behind the East and West Coast US. The DCDi was developed by DatacenterDynamics Research, and takes into account the size of the economy, the number of data centres and the influence of its sector, power consumption, human resources, and technology considerations.

Ealier this year, Juniper warned that current networks inhibit large-scale data centres, which require new fabric architectures. According to Alex Gray, senior vice-president and general manager of the campus and branch networking division at Juniper, companies like Verizon Wireless, Google and Amazon Cloud require an “exponential data centre” to accommodate the exponential growth in traffic and virtual resources.

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