The 2015 Data Center 100

Pressures from major changes impacting IT as well as a push to cut capital expense in favor of operating expense, means significant changes are in store for the data center industry.

Research firm IDC in November reported that it expects the total number of data centers of all types deployed worldwide to peak at 8.6 million in 2017, after which the number will start to slowly decline. That decline will come after the number of internal data center server rooms peaks in 2016 while the number of internal server closets peaks in 2017, IDC said.

At the same time, the total amount of data center space worldwide is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2013 to 2018 due to the growth of what IDC termed "mega" data centers, which IDC said should account for 72.6 percent of all service provider data center construction in terms of space worldwide.

In such a fast-paced environment, finding the right experts to help build and operate data centers is crucial. The Data Center 100 list is one place to start. This cross-section of the industry is not an exhaustive list, and those in the lists are not necessarily the biggest in their fields. But they do represent their respective fields with a combination of innovation, market share, market presence, buzz, technology capabilities and channel capabilities.

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

2015 Data Center 100: 20 Infrastructure Providers
Part one CRN's 2015 Data Center 100 list looks at companies providing the hardware upon which data center compute, power and cooling infrastructures are built.

2015 Data Center 100: 20 Virtualization Vendors
Part two 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.

2015 Data Center 100: 20 Service Providers
Part three of CRN's Data Center 100 looks at third-parties that offer services including colocation, managed hosting, Web hosting and more.

2015 Data Center 100: 20 Designers and Builders
Part four 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.

2015 Data Center 100: 20 Data Center Tool Providers
Part five of CRN's Data Center 100 looks data center tool providers that make sure a data center runs smoothly after its built.