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IT Racks, Enclosures to be Major Drivers of Data Center Investments in 2015

January 28, 2015

Research firm IHS recently published the 2015 edition of its annual IT Racks and Enclosures Report, providing a thorough analysis of the IT rack and enclosure industry including products on the market as well as market size estimates and forecasts. Many characteristics of each product are considered, including its type, dimensions, color, geographic region, application, vertical market and distribution channel.

The report found data center consolidation to be an important driver of change in the industry as products and spending shifts toward hyperscale data centers. Spending on data center infrastructure has continually slowed over the past few years due to factors such as global economic weakness, improvements to IT equipment, outsourcing and of course the aforementioned consolidation. As more IT operations are moved from on-premise facilities to these centralized hyperscale data centers, growth in the data center infrastructure market is expected to continue slowing while particular products become more important.

IHS is projecting growth in global unit shipments of IT racks and enclosures, with global unit shipments expected to rise by 2.9 percent and associated revenues to grow 4.4 percent in 2015. The growth forecasted for IT racks and enclosures is stronger than many other infrastructure products such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and cooling equipment, yet weaker than important equipment products such as rack power distribution units (PDU).

Rack PDUs command a relatively high replacement rate due to product shifts towards improved models, yet infrastructure equipment such as IT racks and enclosures need to be replaced much less often and is thus more dependent on construction of new data centers. However, there are many opportunities for product upgrades in this market such as those from two-post to four-post or four-post to enclosure setups as well as upgrades from basic racks to premium racks. Accessories such as cable management and passive airflow are in turn more practical with these higher models.

A whopping 86 percent of units in the data center infrastructure market shipped in 2014 were enclosures, which bring many benefits over open frame setups such as better airflow and cable management as well as improved stability, security and aesthetic appeal. In addition, this market continues to experience innovation as suppliers are pressed to find new ways to manage space more efficiently and otherwise improve operations. IHS expects enclosures to continue seeing higher growth than open frame racks, with accessories following as the second fastest-growing segment of this market.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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