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Data-centre hosting in the Asia-Pacific market will continue to expand at a compounded average growth rate of more than 14% until 2011, says the consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

The market for data centre co-location and managed hosting services in Asia Pacific has been strong for almost a decade, driven by the rise in business and internet subscribers. Frost & Sullivan analysts predict growth is likely to continue into the next few years with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 14.6%.

The rate of growth would lift the sector's revenues past US$10.68 billion by the end of 2011, said Chengyu Wu, a Frost & Sullivan analyst.

"Data centre hosting services are a huge, growing business - one that has remained largely insulated from the effects of the recession," she said.

"As much as two-fifths of a company's total energy consumption is spent on powering data centres, making the cost of maintaining captive data centres highly prohibitive. Real estate, of course, is the other significant cost."

Demand for data centre hosting currently exceeds supply, she added. In fact, more than 80% of the major data centres in Asia-Pacific are running at close to 90% capacity and space is at a premium.

Frost & Sullivan research suggests that the market - covering 14 Asia-Pacific countries including Japan - grossed $8.0 billion in 2009, a 12.8% year-on-year increase. Revenues are expected to climb faster this year, by 14.7% to reach $9.18 billion by the year-end. For next year, Frost & Sullivan forecasts a rise of 16.4%.

Japan, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong are the region's leading data centre hubs, with China, India and Malaysia also hosting several data centres. Japan accounted for 71% ($5.7 billion) of the sector's revenues last year.

Growth in most countries is largely fuelled by strong domestic demand, which reflects government initiatives in e-governance and e-readiness. Singapore and Hong Kong continue to be prime hubs for regional facilities.

"Government-driven investments into next-generation broadband networks, IT infrastructure build-outs and e-ready nations have created a growing internet-savvy population that demands rich content, collaboration and web applications. This demand is the primary driver of the growth in data centre space in the region," said Ms Wu.

Internet media, telecom and IT industries together account for up to 45% of the demand, she added. These sectors are still growing at a fast pace in almost all Asia-Pacific countries and are expected to continue to be the biggest users of data centre space over the next four to five years.

Although no lull in demand in sight, data centre operators are struggling with recent exponential rise in the cost of operations, said Frost & Sullivan director Jayesh Easwaramony.

"Power costs can often account for more than 50% of the overall operational expenditure of a data centre, while real estate pricing could also seriously inflate costs," he said.

"Oddly, in Asia, the larger data centres tend to be based in the most expensive cities - Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Sydney."

Technological developments also oblige data centre operators to upgrade facilities continuously, he added.

"Many data centres have been compelled to upgrade their cooling system to meet the demand for blade servers, which, while requiring less space, now also consume more energy," he said.

It is estimated that nearly 2% of the world's electricity supply is spent powering data centres.

"The focus on green initiatives has moved rightly in the direction of cost savings rather than corporate social responsibility in the past twelve months, with discussions around new concepts such as virtualisation, green data centres and utility computing emerging in the data centre segment," said Ms Wu.

"However, not many data centre owners in Asia-Pacific have embraced these in their facilities due to the skills required and the huge cost involved in implementation and maintenance."

Adoption by users has likewise been minimal due to inadequate compliance and governance, she added.

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Quelle/Source: Bangkok Post, 08.03.2010

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