Is Our Appetite For Data, Transforming The European Construction Market?
Google has recently announced a flagship data centre in Luxembourg which, if approved in March, will amount to the largest single investment in the country’s history. With 34 hectares’ worth of real estate and up to a million square metres of server space, this could cost in excess of €1bn and consume as much power as tens of thousands of homes.
This is one of two hyperscales Google are planning in Europe, and they are not alone. The hyperscale DC market grew by 11% in 2018 and there are currently 132 data centers of this size in development, meaning the number of hyperscales worldwide will exceed 500 by the end of 2020.
In Europe alone, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are planning or developing Hyperscales of their own, decreasing their inflated reliance on renting managed server space in colocation centres. These businesses have a combined annual turnover of over $600bn (about 10x Luxembourg’s GDP), so you can understand the desire European governments have to bring this spending power to their countries.
So why all this construction? And why here?
It’s down to a combination of factors. The Internet of Things (the network of everyday objects connected to the internet) is growing, as is our data consumption. Think of the increase in video production online, the rise of streaming services, and our reliance on “The Cloud” to store our photos and videos: these all contribute to a steadily increasing demand for data storage.
Why Europe? Locations for Data Centres rely on two major resources: power and space, and preferably cheap offerings of both. Take Denmark for example: the Danish government can offer both these things, with a huge renewable energy grid and relatively cheap land; it’s no wonder Google, Facebook and Apple have Hyperscale developments currently under construction there. Secondly, being close to where the transatlantic communication cables (wherein internet data is sent from the US to Europe and vice versa) make landfall means the data is easily accessed for both export and import.
With countries like Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark successfully tempting these US technology giants with cheap land and energy, we can only expect the Hyperscale Data Centre market in Europe to increase throughout the next 5 years.
With demand for data centres at a level we’ve never seen before, supply needs to catch up. In other words, with some of these projects employing 3,000 specialist construction staff at peak, and several in development at once, now more than ever we can see the need for highly skilled construction professionals to join this sector and take advantage of this unprecedented boom in the data centre market.
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