What is a Hyperscale Data Center?

Ever wondered how big technology companies such as Amazon and Google continue to develop new applications by the minute for billions of users and run them with rarely any downtime? Some of the technologies launched by these companies have become integral to our day-to-day lives. But this only means increased power to fuel these applications. If you’re wondering how these businesses can expand their global presence by continuously existing in the cloud, the answer lies with “hyperscale data centers”.

What is a Hyperscale Data Center?

Hyperscale computing refers to an architecture that expands and contracts based on the current needs of the business. That scalability is seamless and involves a robust system with flexible memory, networking, and storage capabilities.

The hyperscale data center is built around three key concepts:

  • The infrastructure and distributed systems can support the data center operations.
  • Scalability for computing tasks to ensure efficient performance based on the demand
  • Appropriate revenue

Unlike old-school data center architecture, the hyperscale model works with hundreds of thousands of individual servers that are made to operate together via a high-speed network. The form factors, by design, work to maximize performance.

hyperscale data center

The rise of the Hyperscale Data Center

The notion of hyperscale data centers emanated from the idea that if applications were robust enough, they could be migrated easily from one compute instance to another without worrying about the underlying machine they were running on. The introduction of hypervisors as abstraction layers allowed applications – running in virtual machines (VMs) – to be moved easily from one physical hardware to another.

VMware was one of the first companies to run hypervisors and VMs successfully on X86-based machines in 1999 with its ESX hypervisor. At the time, VMware ESX allowed IT teams to pause, move, or even copy a VM to another host and resume execution at exactly the same point of suspension.

The evolution of data centers began in earnest when the infrastructure for hypervisors and virtualization was in place. With virtualized data centers, any server failure became a non-issue since workloads could be moved easily from one underlying hardware to another.

In the last couple of years, we’ve also witnessed data centers undergoing significant evolution. For example, in the past, only large enterprises could afford the space, resources, and IT teams required by data centers. Today’s data centers take many forms, including hosted, collocated, cloud, and edge. They are increasingly becoming more distributed, with edge data centers springing up to process massive Internet of Things (IoT) data.

This evolution is far from over. For example, the number of mission-critical workloads and cloud computing services like Software as a Service (SaaS) is increasing, leading to more complex requirements for data centers. The rise of hyperscale data centers can be attributed mainly to the growth in mission-critical applications. Because of specialized engineering and the benefits of economies of scale, hyperscale data centers provide a more compelling value proposition than traditional or enterprise data centers.

The development of data-hungry technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), IoT, blockchain, and metaverse will only spur the increased growth of hyperscale data centers. According to Precedence Research, the global market size for hyperscale data centers was estimated at $ 62 billion in 2021. This market size is expected to reach $ 593 billion by 2030, representing a 28.42% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Some benefits

Hyperscale data centers provide numerous benefits to an organization. Some of the main advantages they offer include the following:

  • Dynamic Scalability with Ease: By rapidly spinning up or reallocating additional resources and adding them to an existing cluster, a hyperscale DC can seamlessly grow to many times its original capacity without the traditional operational complexity or forklift upgrades and downtimes.
  • Cloud-Level Resiliency: One of the main advantages of cloud computing over on-premises data centers is the additional resiliency provided by cloud environments. Hyperscale data centers can provide an equivalent level of 99.999% resiliency on-premises via intelligent load balancing and seamless scalability.
  • Cyber security at Scale: Data centers hold the crown jewels of most organizations. Implementing a scalable zero-trust data center security design requires both advanced threat prevention along a security infrastructure capable of keeping up with extremely high network throughput and ultra-low latency demands of data center environments.
  • Operational Simplicity: Integration is one of the core tenets of hyperscale data centers. This tight integration not only improves performance but also makes the solution easier to operate and secure by decreasing the number of independent parts.
  • Cost Efficiency: Hyperscale data centers commonly use intelligent load balancing and multiple firewalls in a cluster to achieve full resiliency.  Hyperscale utilizes all of the compute resources in the cluster (vs. legacy 1+1 designs where half of all resources are in pure ‘stand-by’ mode and unutilized). Hyperscale provides maximum resiliency at a much lower cost of hardware, power/cooling, and real estate (rack space).

hyperscale data center

Who Owns Hyperscale Data Centers?

The most prominent hyperscale data center companies include today’s biggest names in tech. These companies have enormous data processing and storage needs beyond what the typical enterprise data center can meet.

Typically, companies that own HDCs generate revenue directly through the apps and products they sell.

Some of the most recognizable hyper scalers include: Google, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Alibaba Group, Facebook/Meta, Apple

Of these companies, U.S.-based tech companies own the largest proportion of hyperscale data centers worldwide. Often, if a company’s needs expand to hyperscale requirements, it will either build its own facility or lease infrastructure from data center development companies.


More companies are shifting more of their IT operations to hyperscale facilities. But they’re also finding it challenging to perform accurate capacity planning and maintain centralized records.

The solution is to use DCIM software, a powerful tool that allows you to monitor critical infrastructure, improve capacity planning, and optimize workloads.


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