Hyperscale Data Centers Hit the Thousand Mark

New data from Synergy Research Group shows that the number of large data centers operated by hyperscale providers increased to 992 at the end of 2023, and passed the thousand mark in early 2024. Meanwhile it has taken just four years for the total capacity of hyperscale data centers to double, as the number of facilities grows rapidly and their average capacity continues to climb.

Synergy’s data shows that the United States still accounts for 51% of worldwide capacity, measured by MW of critical IT load, with Europe and China each accounting for about a third of the balance. Looking ahead Synergy forecasts that total hyperscale data center capacity will double again in the next four years. While each year will see some 120-130 additional hyperscale data centers coming online, capacity growth will be driven increasingly by the even larger scale of those newly opened data centers, with generative AI technology being a prime reason for that increased scale.

The research is based on an analysis of the data center footprint of 19 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms, including the largest operators in SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, search, social networking, e-commerce and gaming. The companies with the broadest data center footprint are the leading cloud providers – Amazon, Microsoft and Google. In addition to a huge data center footprint in their home US market, each also has multiple data centers in many other countries around the world. In aggregate the three now account for 60% of all hyperscale data center capacity. They are followed in the ranking by Meta/Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent, Apple, ByteDance and then other relatively smaller hyperscale operators. Synergy’s forecast growth numbers are based in large part on its tracking of hyperscale operators’ pipeline of future data centers. Synergy’s known pipeline of future hyperscale data centers currently stands at 440 facilities, which are at various stages of being planned, developed or fitted out.

“While both the number of hyperscale data centers and their average size continue to grow at an impressive pace, there is a lot of complexity and nuances behind those trends,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group. “Generally speaking, self-owned data centers are much bigger than leased data centers and data centers in the home country of a hyperscale company are much bigger than its international facilities, though there are plenty of exceptions to these trends. We’re also seeing something of a bifurcation in data center scale. While the core data centers are getting ever bigger, there is also an increasing number or relatively smaller data centers being deployed in order to push infrastructure nearer to customers. Putting it all together though, all major growth trend lines are heading sharply up and to the right.”


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