There’s a thirst for data out there. Companies need to store more of it than ever, analyze it, and serve it to workers and customers. That means ever-skyrocketing investments on IT infrastructure such as servers, as well as the software and workers to manage it. It’s expensive and time-consuming. But for some companies, that data-thirst can translate into significant expansion and revenue. Take Equinix, for instance, which recently announced the acquisition of Hong Kong-based data-center provider Asia Tone for $230.5 million. The assets from Asia Tone, one of the leading data-center service providers in the Asia-Pacific region, will help Equinix make a strong play in that fast-growing geographic market. Thanks to that purchase, Equinix now owns 105 data centers in 38 markets around the world. The company recently completed the second phase of its International Business Exchange data center in Hong Kong, adding 1,000 cabinets (for a grand total of 1,450 cabinets). “The data center is now the backbone of any company operating in the digital economy,” Samuel Lee, president of Equinix APAC, wrote in a statement accompanying the announcement of that second phase. “Companies are either selling digital goods and services or relying heavily on the Internet for employee productivity and other business applications.” That same sort of demand, presumably, led Amazon to expand its backend Web services infrastructure to Australia, with a new “edge location” opening in Sydney. Amazon’s Edge locations service Amazon Web Services (AWS) to end users within a particular area, but are more lightweight than full data-centers; the one in Australia supports Amazon CloudFront (the company’s Web service for helping developers and businesses deliver Web content to end users) and Amazon Route 53 (a scalable Domain Name System DNS service). Regions aside, the demand for data is certainly translating into a need for additional data centers; it’s also sparked innovation with regard to energy efficiency and even portability, as companies try to figure out ways to reduce their data-center overhead.   Image: lightpoet/