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Worldwide data center hardware spending is projected to reach $98.9
billion in 2011, up 12.7 percent from 2010 spending of $87.8 billion,
according to IT research firm Gartner. Data center hardware spending is
forecast to total $106.4 billion in 2012 and surpass $126.2 billion in
2015. Gartner identifies data center hardware spending as including
servers, storage and enterprise data center networking equipment.

The very largest size category of data centers (which is data
centers with more than 500 racks of equipment) will increase its share
of spending from 20 percent in 2010 to 26 percent in 2015, driven by
the cloud and the shift from internal data center provision to
external, according to Gartner research. 

"Worldwide data center hardware spending will finally reach and
surpass 2008 levels," said Jon Hardcastle, research director at
Gartner. "Growth in emerging regions — particularly Brazil, Russia,
India and China (the BRIC countries) — is balanced by continued
weakness relative to pre-downturn levels in Japan and Western Europe.
Storage is the main driver for growth. Although only a quarter of data
center hardware spending is on storage, almost half of the growth in
spending will be from the storage market."

In 2010, 2 percent of data centers contained 52 percent of total
data center floor space and accounted for 63 percent of data center
hardware spending. In 2015, 2 percent of data centers will contain 60
percent of data center floor space and account for 71 percent of data
center hardware spending.

"Traditional in-house enterprise data centers are under attack from
three sides. Firstly, virtualization technologies are helping companies
to utilize their infrastructure more effectively, inhibiting overall
system growth,” Hardcastle said. “Secondly, data centers are getting
more efficient, leading to higher system deployment densities and
inhibiting demand for floor space. Thirdly, the move to consolidated
third-party data centers is reducing the overall number of midsize data
centers. Meanwhile, the largest data center class is, of course,
benefitting from the rise of cloud computing,"