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Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location

Feature - Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location - AnD Cable Management Blog

In business, the adage location, location, location has always been a concern for any physical structure. This is true of data centers as well. When it comes to your next data center location, where do you build?

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There are several prime locations around the country for the mega data centers that are popping up everywhere, but there will always be a need for local data centers, and as the need for more storage and faster data rates increases, so will the size and configuration of those data centers. But what influences location? There are two primary factors: safety, and network exchange proximity. Let’s take a closer look.

Data Center Starts

AOL started in Northern Virginia with its first data center. As the area grew, the communities invested in technology and network hubs that attracted more tech giants. In fact, Microsoft bought land in the Loudoun area for around 1.4 million per acre just this year, showing that the value of data center land in that area will not be taking a dive anytime soon.

The Pacific Northwest is also a data center hub, with Amazon leading the way along with several other large tech companies. One reason is that water is plentiful in these wet areas and can be harnessed easily for cooling purposes.

That was just the start, of course. Since then, locations have popped up all over the country.

Safety and Network Proximity

But you can’t just build data centers where you have access to water, and as the Microsoft story illustrates, building near other data centers may be cost prohibitive for many companies. While the Pacific Northwest is also a great location for other reasons, data centers must be built in other places.

Where is the ideal place to build? Well, as with many other things, it depends, but of course the two primary concerns above must be kept in mind. For instance, you could build in the middle of nowhere, where land is cheap, water is plentiful, and there are few weather-related concerns. But if you don’t have a solid connection to the network, your data center will never work.

Taxes, Labor, and Incentives

Taxes, labor, and incentives are all normal costs and benefits of doing business in any given location. For instance, in California the tax laws can be complicated, labor regulations are more restrictive than in some other neighboring states. However, some counties or municipalities offer tax incentives to data centers located there.

In addition, many will be close to network hubs, and will also have talent to draw upon when the time comes to hire new employees. This can be another vital factor in data center location. The right talent can be hard to find in the tech industry, and nearby universities, an appealing community surrounding the data center, and other factors can heavily influence recruiting.

It’s a good idea to keep things under wraps when first negotiating a data center site. Otherwise, bidding wars, protests from community members who may not want to see a data center in their area, and others can derail the best plan before it even gets a chance to get started.

Another consideration is power and access to sustainable resources.

Going Green is the New Black

A huge consideration for data centers is their environmental impact. Choosing a location with a high solar score, for example, allows a data center to operate primarily on renewable energy. The same is true for nearby hydroelectric and wind energy. One of the primary things driving this trend is consumer interest.

Because the consumer wants to do business with companies investing in renewable energy, those same companies partner with data center partners who share the same values. It all comes down to energy and where it comes from.

In this way, companies have gotten creative, locating data centers in cooler northern climates, placing them underwater, and locating them in caves and other areas underground. All of these efforts are attempting to take advantage of natural cooling factors to save energy and improve efficiency.

As much as possible, the location of a data center should be coupled with environmental responsibility and sources of renewable energy.

Key Takeaways

Does all of this sound a bit complicated? It can be. Also there are simply times when you are limited in your selection by geography, local zoning, and the land available to you. But choosing a data center location, much like choosing the location of any other business, will depend on your individual circumstances.

Once you are ready to build, we here at AnD Cable Products can help you with a variety of products to help you maximize your space, get the right cables for your data center, provide labelling products, and even help with physical layer network security and monitoring.

Have questions? Contact us today. We’re happy to talk about your needs for new data center builds or simply moves and changes in current facilities. Join our email list to get the latest news and data center tips. No spam, ever.

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About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
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