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Global data centre cabling market overviewJanuary 2015


Data Infrastructure Speeds: Current 2014 vs Expected 2016 (click image to zoom)
A recent BSRIA survey shows that the uptake of Top of Rack (ToR) is significantly higher in colocation data centres than in enterprise data centres.
- 61% of the colocation data centres have opted for ToR compared to 42% of the enterprise data centres.

Around 19% of the global market for structured cabling is installed in data centres with the remaining 81% being deployed in LAN applications. The structured cabling installed in data centres, based on BSRIA’s yearly research, is estimated at $1.2 billion in 2014. The data centre segment is expected to continue its increase with huge demand for back-up data, video storage, peer-to-peer file sharing, cloud computing and the uptake of the Internet of Things (IoT) with numerous devices being connected in future.

BSRIA’s new Global Data Centre report covers 5 countries (US, UK, Germany, China and Brazil), which combined account for approximately 68% of worldwide DC cabling.


Data centre architecture (enterprise data centres). Question: What percentage of all your servers are connected to Top-of-Rack, End of Row, Middle of Row and centralized switching? (click image to zoom)
The report is published in two parts:

  1. Data Centre Definitions and Trends
  2. End-user survey (103 enterprise data centre and 50 colocation data centres)


The increasing use of higher speed and the media used is one of the topics covered in the end-user survey.

The study highlighted quite significant levels of 1G and 10G both in switch-to-switch and switch-to-server links and expected progression to 40G and 100G planned for 2016.

The uptake of ToR is higher for the colocation segment at 61% than for  the enterprise segment, with 42% opting for ToR. A third of the enterprise data centres use centralised switching.


The use of point to point links in data centres versus Structured cabling – 10G links, Installed (click image to zoom)
The end-users were asked about their use of media for future 10G links. The usage of non-structured cabling P-P link was significant higher for the colocation segment, which also has a higher usage of ToR architecture.

Of the end users who were planning to upgrade to 10G links, 33% of enterprise data centre end-users were planning to do so  in 2014. Among the colocation data centres, this percentage was much higher, 67% of end-users had plans for a 10G upgrade in 2014.

The main reasons for the use of Point-to- Point links have remained largely unchanged from 2011.

They are:


  • Copper and fibre replacement rates. Question: How often do you replace your copper and fibre cable & connectivity? (click image to zoom)
    The ability to reduce the amount of cabling used
  • Higher density port count
  • The ability of SFP+ for fibre
  • Cisco’s recommendations
  • Ability to use cheaper cable than structured category cable

The typical replacement rates are very similar for copper and fibre cable and connectivity. Around a quarter replace the cabling every 4 – 5 years and around 15% every 8 – 10 years. A significant proportion do not replace the cabling.

Outsourcing is expected to increase globally and across all sectors. The survey suggested that outsourcing is considered in 50% of Data Centres which is in line with the forecast results of the BSRIA study completed in 2011. It is expected that outsourcing will grow further by up to 60% by the end of 2016.

To discuss the new market report, contact BSRIA on:

T: +1 312-753-6800
E: sales@bsria.com

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