New research has found that companies are expecting their in-house data centre capacity to decrease going forward, despite most organisations moving their client server-based applications into the cloud.

The survey was conducted by IDC on behalf of co-location and managed service provider Interxion, and it polled 401 enterprises across the four largest European countries (Germany, UK, France and the Netherlands)

IDC estimated that the combined carrier-neutral colocation market in those countries was worth 725 million euros (£632 million) in 2008, and but in 2013 it will reach 2.01 billion euros (£1.75bn), which equates to a 23 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate).

Despite this, companies expect their total data centre capacity (by number of racks) to shrink 1.1 percent in the year to March 2010.

The survey found that nearly all 95 percent of companies operated their own data centre. Around 20 percent of the companies surveyed used an IT outsourcer's data centre, and 11 percent used a colocation service.

IDC thinks that the main reasons for expecting capacity to shrink are IT consolidation and the combined response of utility/cloud computing or server virtualisation (with the need for less servers). This is attractive in the current climate, thanks to the need to cut costs and reduce duplication and overlap.

But despite the decline, IDC feels that capacity placed with colocation providers will increase as a proportion of the whole, equivalent to a net increase of 5.2 percent for all colocation (carrier-based and carrier-neutral). This reflects the trend IDC sees in network and data centre operations overall, with the increased willingness to outsource or use managed services, including among companies that are traditionally heavily in-house

"Overall, the market place has stayed same, espcially as some thought there would be a decrease because of the credit crunch," said Anthony Foy, group MD at Interxion. "We see continuing demand and growth for data centres, but it varies from company to company, depending on what network and infrastructure they need, in line with what we saw two years ago (when IDC and Interxion conducted a similar survey).

"The survey points to an expected decrease in total in-house data centre capacity," he added. "However if you look at underlying requirements for data centres and data centre services, the decrease can be explained by the type of application and equipment being deployed."

"Large companies are consolidating their data centre capacity, some of which is coming to the end of its operational life, and equipment has a higher power and cooling overhead because of density, as well as the migration from client-server environments to web based environments, so it more sensible to centralise their resources."

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