Increase in data centre investment ‘monumental’ : KF

Photo: Ismail Enes Ayhan, Unsplash.

European data centres attracted investment of £23.5 billion in the first half of 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19, according to The Knight Frank Data Centre Report.

The figure, which the firm describes as “monumental” is more than four times the annual average figure ($5 billion) and is “a colossal increase” on last year’s $2 billion investment volumes.

Take-up in H1 2020 was also 50% higher year-on-year at 282MW.

The report, which is produced in collaboration with data centre information service DC Byte looks at data centres as an asset class and includes both enterprise and colocation developments, across 12 key European markets.

The findings highlight the rise of the ‘gigawatt markets’. These are data centre markets where total supply of IT power is expected to exceed 1,000 megawatts in the next three years.

Current gigawatt markets are Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Dublin. However, Madrid, Copenhagen and Warsaw have emerged as the fastest growing European markets with over 700MW of enterprise hyperscale – facilities owned and operated by the companies that they support – and build-to-suit developments between them in planning or active development.

New locations beyond traditional hubs

Data centre developments have also expanded beyond traditional hubs, creating smaller clusters. Amazon is developing 300+MW in Spain, while Google, Facebook and Apple are developing new schemes in Copenhagen. There have also been announcements of new cloud regions in Poland, Milan and Madrid.

Most demand for more or new data centre space and power is cloud led and Knight Frank is seeing an increasing migration to the public cloud, most notably within the financial sector.

Partner and head of EMEA and APAC data centres at Knight Frank, Stephen Beard, said: “We predict that the sector will only continue to grow in importance, particularly given the increased remote working and digitisation of companies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Technology giants building their own data centres

DC Byte’s founder and CEO Ed Galvin said: “The technology giants are increasingly self building which has the potential to rapidly change the data centre landscape as they move away from the short-term flexibility of the colocation model.”

Knight Frank expects that 2021 will see at least a 10% increase in cloud and wholesale take-up levels owing to further adoption of, and migration to, public cloud in the short term.

The firm said that even those markets that appear to be underperforming in this report, notably Paris, will see increased development activity in the rest of 2020 and into 2021.