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What Is Hyperscale?

March 9, 2023

What is “hyperscale?” The word itself is a pretty good indicator. The prefix “hyper” means over or excessive. The word scale refers to size or extent. Hyperscale refers to the ability of IT architecture to scale appropriately as demand is placed on the system. In the same vein, if we were to define hyperscalers, they are described as large cloud service providers, that can provide services such as computing and storage at enterprise scale.

With the emergence of cloud providers—and their large global footprints—enterprises are abandoning traditional, on-premises data centers. The need for data centers has not reduced, it has entirely changed. Hybrid cloud, colocation, and hyperscale data center solutions are now at the forefront of digital infrastructure.

This shift is all about utility. While the maintenance of a dedicated data center requires extensive specialized knowledge and equipment as well as resources, third-party providers offer convenient platform-neutral services that can scale up or down and be spread across geographies.

Data demands are rising dramatically. The utility of that data is intertwined with the business objectives of those who create and use it.

Data drivers in high gear

While this utilization of third-party cloud services such as hyperscale solutions were initially implemented chiefly by large multinational and digital-facing operations, it’s now commonplace for organizations of all types and sizes. Some of the key drivers of cloud services include emerging data-driven technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, and autonomous vehicles.

With cloud services being employed for increasingly diverse purposes, it is important that organizations have a solution that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of needs. That’s why many businesses today deploy some form of hybrid cloud solution.

Utilizing both private and public clouds, hybrid solutions enable businesses to grow their workloads in the cloud as their business needs grow while ensuring that their most sensitive data and applications can remain on private servers.

Why hyperscale?

Hyperscale data centers are the logical response to the explosion in demand for cloud services and hybrid solutions. These are large facilities: roughly the size of a football field on average, with approximately 20 MWs of power each.

With the reliance on hyperscale data center facilities on the rise, data center providers like Digital Realty are investing in new projects at a rapid pace. But what constitutes a good site for a hyperscale facility? There are a few key considerations that providers look for. A large plot of land and ready access to fiber are crucial, as is the ability to support our customers and our sustainability goals.

Location, location, location

That is, global locations. While the need for hyperscale data centers is greatest in established metros like the U.S. and Europe, the rest of the world is catching up quickly. Emerging markets offer unique opportunities and challenges for hyperscalers. For instance, the Latin American data center market has grown over the past few years. By 2023, the data center market in Latin America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.49% with revenues of over $1 billion.

So, what considerations are important when it comes to choosing a location for a new hyperscale data center?

Choosing a location begins with the relationship between the hyperscale provider and the local regulations, and business environment. Motivation from the local resources is critical to moving projects forward, as is access to affordably priced renewable energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hyperscale company?

A hyperscale company, hyperscale provider, or hyperscaler, refers to an organization that operates massive-scale data centers and cloud infrastructure to support their business operations.

The term "hyperscale" refers to the ability of these companies to rapidly scale their infrastructure to accommodate the growing demands of their users. Key characteristics of hyperscale companies include vast infrastructure, cloud services, scalability redundancy and resilience.

What is hyperscale architecture?

Hyperscale architecture is a distributed computing environment designed to handle massive amounts of data and traffic while maintaining scalability and high performance. It is typically employed by hyperscale cloud service providers, social media platforms, and other organizations with immense data processing requirements.