The rise of the hyperscale data center: definition and trends

The hyperscale data center plays a fundamental role in the modern data center market, where meeting a growing demand for large-scale data processing has become indispensable. 

Hyperscale data centers are the backbone of current technological developments, such as IoT devices, social media, and cloud services. They’re also the fundamental innovation drivers within the global data center market, often serving as testbeds for new technologies, such as the most advanced data center cooling systems or energy-efficient hardware designs.

As hyperscale data centers drive the evolution of the data center market, their economic impact on the regions where they are located is crucial, with their presence being a marker for a promising data center market.

Considering this key importance, we take a look at the current definition and prospects for hyperscale data centers, as well as the key trends that will be shaping the market in the foreseeable future.

Nueva llamada a la acción

What is an hyperscale data center

A hyperscale data center is a large-scale data center facility built to provide massive amounts of computing, storage, and networking resources in a highly scalable and efficient manner.

The development of the hyperscale data center is directly linked to that of colocation data centers. This service allows businesses to rent space for their equipment in a third-party facility instead of owning and maintaining their own infrastructure. A colocation provider thus offers physical space within their facility for businesses to install their servers and networking gear, but also provides power and cooling, connectivity, enhanced security and remote hand services.

In the case of hyperscale data centers,  they offer this service on a massive scale.

Typically, this type of facility will host tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of servers. Additionally, they offer extensive storage infrastructure, including petabytes or even exabytes of capacity.

Apart from their massive scale, this type of data center also offers great scalability, redundancy and reliability, to ensure high availability of services. Additionally, they’re leaders in terms of energy efficiency and automation, in order to deliver computing resources at a high performance.

The substantial capital requirements for a hyper scale data center have meant that there is a limited number of this type of operator. These include Amazon, Facebook/Meta, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, which have all built state-of-the-art hyper scale data centers across the globe.

Trends for the hyperscale data center market

Growth and global expansion

In the foreseeable future, the hyperscale data center market is expected to continue growing at unprecedented rates. Driven by a continuous and expanding demand, research has suggested it could reach USD 935.3 billion by 2032, at a CAGR of 27.9% during the period 2023 - 2032.

Their expansion is also predicted to hit locations that have previously been less represented. As such, areas such as the Middle East data center market and the African continent are expecting a rapid expansion, building from making up less than 5% of the total hyperscale global presence, according to data by JLL. Some outstanding examples are already in place, such as Saudi Arabia’s 500 million investment in a hyperscale data center to support Neom, a cutting-edge smart city in the Kingdom.

Hyperscale edge computing

Edge computing involves processing data closer to the source where it is generated or consumed, rather than relying solely on centralized data centers or cloud services.

A major trend across diverse computational areas, this approach reduces latency and improves performance, as well as enabling real-time processing of data. All by distributing computing resources to the "edge" of the network, closer to end-users and their devices.

As part of the growing trend of hyperscale edge computing, data centers, the infrastructure is built as a distributed network of edge data centers or points of presence (PoPs) strategically located closer to end-users, devices, or data sources. This way, a distributed computing ecosystem is built with the aim of optimizing performance, scalability, and responsiveness.  As such, bringing computing resources closer to the point where data is generated or consumed will become a key trend shaping hyperscale facilities in the coming years.

Hyperscale edge computing

Modular design

Hyperscale data centers are embracing modular and scalable designs to accommodate their rapid growth as well as changing workload requirements. Through modular data center components (such as prefabricated data halls and containerized IT modules), they are able to quickly deploy additional capacity as needed. A fundamental shift that will allow this type of facility to increasingly aim at optimizing resource utilization.

Towards greater efficiency 

Energy efficiency and responsible energy utilization have been at the forefront of innovation in data centers, and hyperscale data centers are no exception. This is particularly important considering how data center electricity usage is predicted to double by 2026, according to a report by the IEA, due to AI and cryptocurrency mining providing power-intensive workloads. 

With these figures in mind, increasingly strict regulation is also expected to put new obligations on energy efficiency for data centers, with a potentially more rigorous focus on hyperscale facilities.

Energy efficiency is likely to be achieved through AI-driven automation, that will help operators optimize resource allocation. Other measures to enhance energy efficiency will necessarily look at the following areas:

  • Optimizing the center’s cooling system (as we see below in this article)
  • Upgrading hardware to energy-efficient models
  • Implementing advanced power management technologies and protocols
  • Adopting circular models, like waste heat reuse
  • Resorting to modular designs

Increasingly sophisticated and efficient cooling

Cooling solutions for data centers are a fundamental part in increasing these facilities’ energy efficiency and operational costs. 

In fact, hyperscale data centers stand at a privileged position to implement the most advanced technologies for having a total control over the facilities’ thermal environment. 

This includes state-of-the-art solutions like liquid cooling and immersion cooling, which can provide more efficient heat dissipation compared to traditional air-based cooling systems. 

Liquid cooling technologies are gaining traction in hyperscale data centers due to their superior efficiency. In the case of immersion cooling, servers are submerged in dielectric fluid, an increasingly popular option in hyperscale environments. 

Additionally, hyperscale data centers are also expected to lead in the adoption of renewable energy-powered cooling, including energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. As such, mature markets such as the data center market in Denmark provide a promising example of what a greener data center industry might look like in the future.

At the same time, cooling solutions will increasingly be able to adapt to each project and location’s needs and potential, leveraging natural climate conditions for cooling purposes. 

The best practices for any successful data center cooling initiative must necessarily incorporate a look at the project’s own requirements. This includes expected heat load, critical load, power requirements and room power distribution strategy, among other key aspects.

At ARANER, we offer our cutting-edge thermal engineering knowledge to develop the most efficient data center cooling. With the aim of achieving true green data centers, we have developed innovative data center cooling solutions that adapt to each project, and its environmental and economic efficiency. 

Want to learn more about our role in developing efficient data center cooling? Get in touch with us and speak to our team.

Nueva llamada a la acción

icon-time 5 min