Which tech firms gobbled up the most datacentre space in 2013?

Twitter leased the largest amount of datacentre space, while Microsoft and Google spent the most on self-built facilities, according to a new report.

Twitter leased the largest amount of datacentre space during 2013, putting the social network ahead of big infrastructure renters Microsoft and Rackspace.

The list of firms that struck the biggest deals to rent and build datacentre space last year was put together by US real estate firm Avison Young.

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Microblogging network Twitter, which has 230 million active users, topped this year's list with a deal to lease a 20 megawatt (MW) facility run by co-location firm RagingWire in Sacramento, California.

Twitter's approach of leasing datacentre space from third party providers contrasts with Facebook and Google, which build their own highly-customised facilities that utilise bespoke computing and datacentre infrastructure to maximise efficiency. Facebook was also one of the largest leasers of wholesale datacentre space in 2012, according to that year's Avison Young report, but it didn't make the 2013 list.

The next biggest leasing deals of last year were Rackspace, which rented a 10 MW facility in London; Microsoft with an 8.4MW facility in San Antonio; Shutterfly, with an 8MW premises in Las Vegas; and LinkedIn, with a 7.2MW datacentre in Dallas. Microsoft was the second biggest leaser overall after Twitter, with deals for four facilities, however the report said there was a slowdown in leasing by Microsoft during the year.

Microsoft also topped the list of the largest self-built datacentres for the year, with a $677.6m facility in West Des Moines, Iowa; followed by Google with a $600m datacentre in South Carolina, a $400m datacentre in North Carolina and a $400m facility in Iowa; and then Facebook with a $300m datacentre in Iowa.

The year also saw datacentre space become available after companies moved on, with the report naming vacant facilities previously occupied by Yahoo in Ashburn; Facebook in Santa Clara and San Jose; NTT in San Jose and Zynga in Santa Clara.