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Data Gravity Index™ 2.0: As Trade Flows, Data Flows

In the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0, we study the proliferation of data globally correlated with Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It features over 100 million unique data elements and over one billion calculations across 190+ countries and 500+ metros.

The report is the latest in its series, following the Data Gravity Index Report 1.5. The report predicts the intensity of Data Gravity, giving valuable insights to the enterprise, cloud providers, and network providers as they plan their data capacity strategy.

Learn the Data Gravity implications for:

  • Connectivity: Traffic is shifting to multi-directional; public cloud destined to multi-cloud destined.
  • Capacity: Data growth and movement explode, demanding new capacity types and hybrid models.
  • Communities: Public, private, and hybrid data across edge, core, and cloud participate in connected data communities.

Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 Key Highlights

  • Data Gravity’s impact on enterprise
  • The evolution of the data economy
  • 5 macrotrends influencing Data Gravity
  • Data regulation fueling Data Gravity
  • Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud adoption
What is the Data Gravity Index™?

Data has a gravitational pull — as a data set grows, it attracts applications and services, creating a virtuous cycle of even more data creation.

As the largest global provider of multi-tenant data center capacity1, Digital Realty has a unique perspective on how technology infrastructure is built, deployed, and operated. The Data Gravity Index™ is our effort to quantify and predict the intensity of Data Gravity at the global level. Our aim is to help businesses make decisions about where to place and connect infrastructure and data sets to enable performant, compliant, and resilient service delivery.

Supported by refined data sets and calculations that correlate Data Gravity with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 reveals the shift toward a global economy centered around data.

The evolution of the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0

In 2020, Digital Realty published the Data Gravity Index™ 1.5. This report helped inform our customers as they shift their strategies to address complex Hybrid IT challenges underpinned by Data Gravity.

In the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0, we are continuing this mission supported by refined data sets and calculations that correlate Data Gravity with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. This reflects the increased importance of secure data exchange and our global economy shifting from digitally powered to data-powered.

How does the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 help IT leaders?

In 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted a $100 trillion “digital dividend for society and business”2 —what they defined as the combined value of digital transformation across industries.

More recently, the IDC identified that the shift toward a data economy is already happening in the US: in 2022, data dense products grew to comprise two-thirds ($17.3 trillion) of the US GDP. 3

The Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 findings correlate Data Gravity with GDP growth, further illustrating the value and centrality of data in our global economy.

The report gives you targeted insights as you adopt data-centric approaches and strive to stay ahead in an interconnected world where data is at the core of every business decision.

1451 Research, Market Forecast, Leased Datacenter Global Providers, 2023. Capacity measured in terms of operational square footage.
2World Economic Forum, $100 Trillion by 2025: the Digital Dividend for Society and Business, January 2016
3IDC, Enterprise Intelligence: Digital Differentiation with Decision Velocity, May 2023.

Data Gravity refers to the idea that data has mass, and as its size and importance grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to move or replicate.  

Data Gravity is the attractive force caused by enterprise data creation and exchange, drawing applications, servers, and other data. As data creation and exchange grows, it accelerates exponentially due to this attractive force. In centers of data creation and exchange, this explosion of data can be onerous for legacy servers and applications. 

Data Gravity can cause challenges that can impede the efficiency of data exchange, security, customer experiences, and innovation on a global scale. The Data Gravity Index™ 2.0  measures the impact of global data with GDP.

A large enterprise storing data with a cloud provider for a long time may face challenges associated with Data Gravity. As data rapidly accumulates and reliance on the provider's tools grows, it becomes difficult and expensive to move to another provider or on-premises, even when those changes are necessary to bring data closer to users or unlock insights from siloed data. The data's integral nature to the organization's operations results in a significant gravitational pull, making relocation complex without affecting essential applications and services. Read the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 to understand the effects of enterprise data across public cloud and private data centers.



The effect of Data Gravity is that it becomes increasingly challenging to move or relocate large volumes of data due to its weight and integral role in an organization's operations. This can make it difficult and costly to change cloud providers or move data back on-premises. Read the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 to understand the effects of enterprise data across public cloud and private data centers.


The term "Data Gravity" was coined by Dave McCrory, Global Head of Insights and Analytics at Digital Realty, in 2010. The concept refers to the notion that data attracts applications and services, similar to how planets attract objects with their gravitational force. Read the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 to find out our predictions on the intensity of Data Gravity.


Data Gravity, driven by the adoption of emerging technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), increasing data localization, regulation, and sovereignty needs, creates a significant challenge for the enterprise. By putting data first from both a business and technology standpoint, this segment can profit from the shift to data-driven workflows and address Data Gravity where it is the highest—in major population centers. The Data Gravity Index™ 2.0 provides insight to enterprises on the growth of global data and the impact on GDP.