The Top 10 Data Center Stories of 2017

Dec. 28, 2017
What were the year’s biggest data center stories? Here’s a look back at the trends and stories that mattered in 2017.

What were the year’s biggest data center stories? As we approach the New Year, it’s a good time to reflect on 2017 and look back at the trends and stories that mattered.

There were three prevailing themes to 2017: all things Northern Virginia, new frontier technologies and megascale data centers. On the trend front, it was a particularly buzzy year for edge computingartificial intelligence and autonomous cars, with the emergence of 5G wireless on the horizon.

But what were the biggest individual stories? For that, we turn to our audience of data center decision-makers, who voted with their time and attention to 2017. Here’s a look at the 10 stories that attracted the most pageviews this year on Data Center Frontier, ranked in order.

Facebook: Open Sharing Was Key to Addressing Arc Flash Incidents: Our most-read story of 2017 was notable because it highlighted the value of safety-related disclosures. Data center operators don’t love talking publicly about arc flash. At the 7×24 Exchange in October, Facebook disclosed two arc flash incidents at its data center in Sweden, and how its post-event analysis headed off other potential incidents.

Amazon Approaches 1 Gigawatt of Cloud Capacity in Virginia: How do you quantify the growth of Amazon Web Services? In January we covered a Greenpeace analysis of the company’s generator permits, which suggests that Amazon’s cloud computing operation may soon have more than 1 gigawatt of power capacity supporting its huge US-East data center cluster in Northern Virginia.

CloudHQ Unveils Massive New Manassas Data Center: There was plenty of curiosity about CloudHQ, which remained in stealth mode as it built a 43-megawatt data center in Manassas, Virginia. Our August 8 story provided a first look at the massive facility.

Amazon Plans Epic Data Center Expansion in Northern Virginia: In November we updated the expansion plans for Amazon Web Services, which is working with data center developer COPT to build 11 new data centers in Northern Virginia in 2018-19, which would add 2 million SF of cloud capacity.

Autonomous Cars Could Drive Deluge of Data Center Demand:  Autonomous vehicles will be like supercomputers rolling down the highway, generating up to 4 terabytes of data per day. That could translate into massive demand for data centers and wireless infrastructure, as we explained in our May 24 overview of the data implications of this new technology.

The Antenna Boom: Small Cells, DAS Emerge as Key Enablers for 5G: Telcos hope to deploy tens of thousands of small cell and DAS antenna systems to support next-generation 5G wireless broadband connectivity. Our August 3 story looked at what this may mean for data centers.

Data Center M&A Scorecard: The Deals That Are Shaping The Cloud: 2017 was a record year for merger and acquisition actiovity in the data center industry, including the megamerger between Digital Realty and DFT. Our M&A scorecard first appeared in May, and was updated right through the burst of late December deals.

Facebook Building Even Bigger Data Center Campuses: How big can hyperscale buildings and facilities get? That was the focus of this February trend story, which looked at Facebook hitting a new phase of growth, which includes building even larger data centers, and more data centers on each cloud campus.

The Unimaginable Future: Data Center Leaders Grapple With Growth: Some of the industry’s most optimistic industry thought leaders expressed amazement at the recent pace of data center growth at the DCD Webscale conference in June, and urged colleagues to prepare for further acceleration in demand.

Startup EdgeMicro Plans Network of Tower-Based Micro Data Centers: The growing fascination with edge computing is reflected in the wide interest in our October 26 story about startup EdgeMicro, the latest in a series of ventures targeting the edge market, which plans to roll out more than 500 micro data centers at cell towers.

What does 2018 have in store for the data center industry? At Data Center Frontier we focus on how emerging technologies shape the design and location of data centers. In January we’ll feature a special series of stories highlighting the trends we believe will shape the year ahead.

You can follow Data Center Frontier on Twitter and Facebook, connecting with me on LinkedIn, and signing up for our weekly newspaper using the form below:

About the Author

Rich Miller

I write about the places where the Internet lives, telling the story of data centers and the people who build them. I founded Data Center Knowledge, the data center industry's leading news site. Now I'm exploring the future of cloud computing at Data Center Frontier.

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