With the data centre sector continuing to expand quicker than ever before, with no foreseeable slowing, Bruceshaw explores the transformation of the data centre in its latest Bruceshaw Voice.

The common perception of data centres is that they are shrouded in secrecy, however, they are often easy to spot. They are the buildings with reflective or tinted windows, high level of associated security, lack of obvious branding, with often very few people coming in or out. As a result, data centres are often tended to be unpopular with local planners.

However, with more of the objects we use day-to-day become ‘smart’ there is no doubt that there will be a greater need for larger storage capacity, and thus more data centres. The current national news headlines, concerning the development of 5G also bring the hosting, utilisation and security of data to the centre of people’s attention.


Twenty years ago, data centres tended to be on the outskirts of cities and towns in areas where land was cheap and power was available. They were often housed in industrial buildings that have been built speculatively by developers because they already had planning, often to look deliberately modest so people didn’t wonder too much what was going on in there.

So how has the market changed?

In short, far more data is being produced. CISCO has forecasted, for example, that the number of devices connected to IP networks will be more than three times the global population by 2022. This has led many companies to outsource their data management and shift to the cloud, which in turn has led to the expansion of co-location data centres and hyper-scaling. Meanwhile slowly but surely the image of data centres is beginning to shift.

Data Centre Requirements

There are some requirements that data centres will always need. Good fibre, for example, and access to large amounts of power. System losses are easier to manage if you’re in a very stable grid area. Unsustainability has become an increasingly important concern of course, with many centres located close to the coast so the air coming off the sea can be used for cooling. Most recently, Microsoft as one of the sector leaders has pledged to offset all the carbon emitted from its data centres since the organisation’s inception.

Edge Computing

Many commentators have predicted that the advent of hyperscaling – driven by the big five market players: Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon – with its need for space as well as sustainable power, combined with the increase of data created by the Internet of Things, will produce edge computing.

This edition of the Bruceshaw Voice was created in conversation with Journalist Grant Gibson, Bruceshaw’s Managing Partner Rennie Dalrymple and Directors Nicholas Payne, Daniel Wright and Tom Bishop.