Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 1.03.59 PMOnline content such as movies, apps, social media and photos have become a staple of our digital diet. According to the North America Data Center Outlook, a forecast by JLL, a financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management, the adoption of cloud services to store all this content is expected to double the size of the North American data center industry by 2021.

“With information streaming in from every corner of the world, organizations struggle to understand where and how to best manage and process their data to deliver instant, reliable access to information for consumers and businesses alike,” said Bo Bond, Central Region lead for JLL’s Data Center Solutions Group.

“Cloud services, digital content and new data sovereignty laws are setting the data center market on fire,” he continued. “Demand is historically strong, so the onus is on the data center operators to build space fast enough, while also accommodating shorter, more flexible lease structures that have become highly popular as data strategies have evolved.”

With a spike in protective data sovereignty laws enacted this year, JLL’s annual North America Data Center report also observes that countries are beginning to regulate where the cloud “lives.” Some of the industry’s biggest players must meet growing demand and compliance requirements, producing a remarkable rate of global expansion.

The JLL report covers seventeen North American markets for data center facilities, and reveals the top trends influencing U.S. data center locations, including:

  1. Cloud adoption will double the size of the data center industry over the next five years. Absorption of data center space now totals 274.2 MW, producing a development surge across the country.
  1. Data center users are disbursing data across locations, aligning with smarter data management strategies.                                                                                                                                Data center providers and users are becoming more efficient in planning and load management, while pursuing shorter, more flexible lease structures.
  1. Data sovereignty laws are redrawing the global data center location map.                           The industry’s biggest players are expanding internationally faster than ever, helping users stay compliant with regulations designed to keep data inside a nation’s borders.
  1. Climate change is shaping data center legislation and technology.                                   Global climate change has spurred effective energy efficiency solutions, from refrigerant-based cooling systems to the continuing rise of data center micro-grids.

According to JLL’s Bond, the industry’s biggest players are ready for the cloud services demand, and “They are upping their game with smarter capacity planning and virtualization strategies.”

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