The capex of hyperscale operators topped $26 billion in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest numbers from Synergy Research Group. This continues a strong year of hyperscale capex spending, which grew 53 percent for the first three quarters of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.
According to Synergy’s research, for the last 10 quarters the top five group of spenders has always consisted of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, which in aggregate account for 70 percent of hyperscale capex. Microsoft capex reached a record level in Q3, while capex at the other four leaders dropped off marginally compared with the all-time highs seen in the previous quarter.
Beyond this group, Synergy said that Alibaba’s capex leapt in the quarter putting it “way ahead of other hyperscale operators.”
Much of the hyperscale capex goes toward building, expanding, and equipping huge data centers, which have now grown in number to 423.
Synergy’s research is based on analysis of the capex and data center footprint of 20 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms, including the largest operators in IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, search, social networking and e-commerce. Outside of the top five, other leading hyperscale spenders included Alibaba, Baidu, IBM, JD.com, NTT and Tencent.
“Business at the hyperscale operators is booming. Over the last four quarters their year-on-year revenue growth has averaged 24 percent, and they are investing an ever-growing percentage of their revenues in capex,” said John Dinsdale, a chief analyst at Synergy Research Group. “That is a real boon for data center technology vendors and for colocation/wholesale data center operators.”