The 2014 Data Center 100

The data center business is facing a massive wave of change, with consolidation, cost control, converged infrastructure and the cloud all pushing businesses to look at new ways to build the facilities, infrastructure and services needed to serve both internal and external customers.

Helping with those facilities, infrastructure and services are a wide range of companies from massive giants such as AT&T and IBM to consultants with expertise in fields ranging from airflow monitoring to real estate.

The data center market is a huge one. Research firm Canalys estimated the market to be worth about $128 billion in 2012, and that it will grow by about 5 percent yearly to reach $152 billion in 2016. For larger data centers, the move to cloud computing will push even faster growth of about 8 percent per year, Canalys estimated.

[Related: 10 Data Center Predictions For 2014 ]

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In such a fast-paced environment, finding the right experts to help with building and operating data centers is crucial to success. The Data Center 100 list is one place to start. Here, solution providers can find a cross-section of the industry with some of the top suppliers represented.

The Data Center 100 was never meant to be an exhaustive listing of potential partners. Instead, it presents a look at the kind of partners are available. The companies listed here are not always the biggest in their field, and a good many of them aren't even big at all. But they do represent their respective fields with their own combination of innovation, market share, market presence, buzz, technology capabilities and channel capabilities.

The list is broken up into five separate lists of providers:

2014 Data Center 100: 20 Infrastructure Providers

Part one CRN's 2014 Data Center 100 list looks at companies providing the hardware upon which data center compute, power and cooling infrastructures are built.

2014 Data Center 100: 20 Data Center Tools Providers

Part two of CRN's annual Data Center 100 looks at 20 data center tool providers that make sure a data center runs smoothly after its built.

2014 Data Center 100: 20 Designers And Builders

Part three of CRN's Data Center 100 looks at data center designers and builders that offer customers a wide range of services to help get the data center off the ground.

2014 Data Center 100: 20 Service Providers

Part four of CRN's Data Center 100 looks at third-parties that offer services including collocation, managed hosting, Web hosting and more.

2014 Data Center 100: 20 Virtualization Providers

The final part of CRN's Data Center 100 looks at the companies helping to virtualize the resources data centers need to provide services-centric or cloud-centric resources.