New report suggests the European market for data center power distribution products may have untapped potential

May 22, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
A new study by market analyst IMS Research shows that the global data center power distribution market was worth $440 million in 2011.

The Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market accounted for 11 percent of the total, with most revenues coming from the Middle East.

IMS Research points out that because EMEA’s markets for both data centers and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) are of similar size to those in the Americas, it is possible that EMEA is merely an untapped potential waiting to become the next $100 million dollar market by 2016 for these types of specialty power distribution products.

The study considered product hardware for the three-phase power distribution market including transformer-based power distribution units (PDU), remote power panels (RPP), static transfer switches (STS), overhead busway, and branch circuit monitoring (BCM). With a high price tag, commanding upwards of $30,000 for just one unit, transformer-based PDUs make up 37 percent of hardware revenues. As most of EMEA, with the exception of the Middle East, uses 400/230VAC distribution, the need for the step-down voltage transformation provided by PDUs is unnecessary; this eliminates the potential for upwards of $100 million in revenues from PDUs in EMEA.

“The lack of need for a step-down transformer is just one of the reasons for the difference in size between the American and EMEA markets,” said IMS Research market analyst Lori Lewis. “Instead of using expensive hardware such as PDUs and RPPs, the market has been satisfied by local panel builders using generic equipment to build low cost wall panels.”

Furthermore, limited visibility and product knowledge of the more relevant equipment, such as overhead busway, have delayed significant sales in EMEA. Overhead busway offers the benefits of bringing circuit breakers closer to the loads without consuming floor space while also allowing for much more flexible reconfigurations in the ever-changing data center environment.

 “Because this product was developed as an alternative to the transformer-based PDU, most manufacturers of overhead busways and their installed user base are in the US. Therefore, the market for overhead busway has yet