Compute at Scale
Compute at Scale - A broad investigation into the data center industry
Konstantin Pilz, Lennart Heim
This report characterizes the data center industry and its importance for AI development. Data centers are industrial facilities that efficiently provide compute at scale and thus constitute the engine rooms of today’s digital economy. As large-scale AI training and inference become increasingly computationally expensive, they are dominantly executed from this designated infrastructure. Key features of data centers include large-scale compute clusters that require extensive cooling and consume large amounts of power, the need for fast connectivity both within the data center and to the internet, and an emphasis on security and reliability. The global industry is valued at approximately $250B and is expected to double over the next seven years. There are likely about 500 large (> 10 MW) data centers globally, with the US, Europe, and China constituting the most important markets. The report further covers important actors, business models, main inputs, and typical locations of data centers.