Global Data Center Survey by the Uptime Institute

Global Data Center Survey by the Uptime Institute

The Uptime Institute, famous for its Tier rating system, has a yearly data center survey. We’ve taken a look at their latest report and highlighted the most interesting and surprising results. The survey was held under 867 data centers worldwide, of which 43% were based in the USA and Canada, 19% in Europe and 13% in Latin America. Asia Pacific and Africa accounted for 12 and 11%, while Russia and China both came last with 1%.

Power consumption

The standard is flawed, but still is being used at the-facto standard for measuring the energy efficiency of a data center: PUE. In 2007 it was at a 2.5 average, meaning the energy needed for everything outside the server cabinets (such as cooling, UPS, etc) was 1.5 times the servers’ total power consumption. Only 11 years later, this number has dropped to 1.58. We at think this has a lot to do with higher rack densities, combined with more effective cooling systems available.


One of the reasons to use a data center, is their stability in energy availability. We find it shocking to see about a third of the respondents has had an outage in the past year. The difference between N+1 and 2N architectures are clearly visible: while 22% of the data centers with a 2N architecture has seen an outage, the N+1 data centers reported 33%. When looking at the past three years, these numbers are 35 and 51%.

Rack density issues

The number of high density racks is growing fast. In 2012, the highest density rack was using 26kW. Today, about 20% of respondents said their highest density was 30kW or more. One out of twenty data centers even reported numbers above 50kW per rack. A huge amount of energy, meaning cooling systems have to be adapted accordingly. The Uptime Institute states that unless an IT environment was specifically designed for these high densities, operators are likely to experience issues.

Preparing for climate change

Organizations worldwide need to prepare for the changes in climate. Data centers are no exception to that rule. Still, 45% of data centers are not adapting to climate change. One third of respondents are re-evaluating technology, such as evaporating cooling.

Skill shortages

The data center world is growing, fast. 55% of respondents have problems finding or retaining qualified staff. According to them, operations and management show the most difficult positions to fulfill.
More than half say women make up less than 6% of their data center design, build or operation staff, but for 73% this lack of female colleagues is not a threat to their business or the industry at large.


The Uptime Institute Survey shows the progression of the data center world. PUEs that get lower every year, while power consumption grows. We as data centers have quite some challenges ahead of us: how to provide enough power, get enough skilled people, and preparing us for the climate change. Still a lot to do, that’s why it’s so exciting to be working in this area.

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