COSH gathers momentum.

The massive growth in DFLAPs might be over – what happened, and what’s next?

Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris used to be so important to the data center market they got their own acronym. But now the DFLAP markets are struggling to offer what hyperscale and enterprise data center customers need. The massive growth in DFLAPs might be over – what happened, and what’s next?

Three issues in particular are now limiting the opportunities for data center providers in these markets; access to power; availability and cost of land; and political uncertainties.

Are emerging Nordic centers Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki (COSH) primed to benefit?

DFLAP Low Power Warning
Data centers are not only power-hungry, but they are very high-density consumers of power. This means that they suck in a significant proportion of the power generation capacity available in a location, consuming far more per square metre of land than anything else.

Not only does this strain the distribution grid, but it means power is less available for other industrial, commercial and residential uses.

It is estimated that the power generation capacity needed to power Dublin’s data centers will need to double in the next 10 years. The Irish grid company, Eirgrid reported that by 2027, electricity consumed by data centers will have risen to 31% of the total consumption for the whole of Ireland.

There are also implications as cities and countries try to de-carbonise power generation. 40% of Germany’s electricity is still generated by burning coal – but the Federal government has committed to decommission a quarter of the country’s coal-burning plants with a capacity of 12.5 gigawatts by 2022.

The impact this will have on the heavy power consumers such as Frankfurt’s data centers is yet to be determined.

Other large metropolitan areas including London and Paris must also balance the needs of increasing populations and commercial activities with the demands of data center operators.

It will become increasingly difficult politically to support energy hogs if citizens and other businesses find supply and capacity constrained.

Space To Grow
The DFLAP group are all successful cities, growing in terms of population and business activity. This puts a huge strain on increasingly limited land. And everyone wants the same pieces of land.

Around London, the M25 orbital motorway provides a logistics corridor essential for many businesses. Land nearby and with good access is highly sought after for all types of business, real estate agency Knight Frank predicts that in the next five years computing and information services will be just one of four sectors driving demand for 1.5 million sq ft of additional office space in the region.

As a result competition for and cost of land in these areas has rocketed, rents for industrial properties rising 20% in some areas, with commercial land selling for up to £5 million an acre.

London is the most expensive of the DFLAP markets for data center builds, a fact borne out by global professional services company Turner & Townsend’s Data Center build Cost Index (DCCI).

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