It's back! It's back! Everyone seems to be exclaiming the return of a boom for the data center industry. Seattlepi.com has a nice article on the subject as well as a brief one at Nicholas Carr's blog.
My inbox is flooded with stories of companies expanding, building new data centers and record growth. On top of this there have been many stories on how there is a shortage of generators due to so many new facilities being built. Waiting periods of up to a year!!
I am by no means an expert, but here is my take on all of this. We have a record number of "small" companies building data centers that are either the right size for them or all that they can afford to build. Meanwhile the guys that really know how to do this (HP, Google) are not necessarily building 'more' data centers, but consolidating into a smaller number of HUGE data centers. Combine this with virtualization really catching on and automation helping out the "lights-out data center" and I really think we'll see all of these small data centers moving into mammoth mega-data centers in the next 5-10 years. With real estate and power being such big factors, I just think that economies of scale will come in to play and make it more economical for the mega centers to flourish over the small ones. Servers are becoming more and more hands off and it really won't matter where they are as long as you have good bandwidth and remote administration tools.
With journalists reporting on another 'bubble' in the industry happening and having lived through the last bubble I tend to get cautious with so much development going on. A sound business plan and the ability to adapt to fast-paced changes is crucial to survival.