The rising demand for better in-house storage, processing and analytics capabilities to support the business needs of enterprises, in concert with the rapid development of cloud computing and big data have led to high data centers growth in China since 2010.
Data centers, as a key component of the Internet and of enterprise IT infrastructure, can be placed into three categories in China. Facilities owned by carrier-neutral or network-independent operators are network agnostic and offer interconnection to networks operated by multiple network services carriers and Internet service providers (ISP). Carrier-operated facilities are operated by network services carriers that own or manage networks and typically require customers to use the carrier’s own network. They may allow interconnection with a limited number of alternative networks for backup and reliability. The third type is in-house facilities, which are owned or operated by the end users, usually large corporations and organizations.
In China, telecommunications carriers have been dominant in terms of data center numbers. China Telecom, the largest Internet Data Center (IDC) provider, has more than 320 commercial facilities available for lease all over the country, followed by China Unicom, with around 220. To cater to the rapidly changing ICT market, carriers are developing the next generation of cloud data centers in the western and northern areas of China, such as Inner Mongolia and Guizhou. Carrier-neutral data center providers are catching up in terms of the number of data centers and have grown as a proportion of the data center service market in China.
In recent years, the advance of major established markets, such as Beijing and Shanghai, has expedited the overall development of the data center industry in China. According to the DCD Index, which categorizes the development of data center markets worldwide, China is now an evolved data center market, outstripping the other markets with which it has traditionally been associated: India, Russia and Brazil.