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Ideal spots to build a data center

September 24, 2018

Ideal spots to build a data center

According to Bisnow, the U.S. will need 4,000 more data centers by 2020. While choosing a data center location that meets your business needs is a complex decision requiring lots of analysis, here are the top five location factors and suggestions to help you get started.

Location factors

Before settling on a location, consider the following 5 factors:

  1. Weather: With hurricane season in full swing, it serves as a good reminder of choosing a site that may be affected by the elements, including rainfall, high and low temperatures, average wind speeds, flooding propensity and seismic activity.
  2. Proximity to talent/workforce: Your data center needs to rely on a pool of qualified talent, whether it’s from existing or up-and-coming talent from local universities. For example, Facebook is building a new data center in Alabama because it’s a growing tech hub and “provides reliable access to renewable energy; strong local infrastructure; a great set of community partners; and, very importantly, an outstanding pool of talent."
  3. Power and network connectivity: If a high-level of uptime is required for your data center operations, relying on tier-one power providers is essential. The same goes with access to a high-speed network infrastructure. You’ll want to do your homework around outages and average response times.
  4. Real estate costs: Consider the cost of real estate and accessibility to roads and airports.
  5. Compliance requirements: Whether you’re looking locally or abroad for your site selection, don’t overlook any compliance requirements (e.g., the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act and U.S. Patriot Act).

Finally, TechTarget offers a good list of questions to ask about data center locations.

Location suggestions

According to Gigaom, these are the top five places to build a new data center, which take in the location factors listed above.  

  1. Western New York: Western New York is known for its proximity to major metropolitan areas, a solid power infrastructure and data center tax exemptions.
  2. Ontario, Canada: Ontario is known for its strong networking and power infrastructure and low risk for natural disasters.
  3. Eastern Washington State: This region has a good power infrastructure and a skilled workforce.
  4. Colorado: This state features abundant power, a skilled workforce, access to government-approved training and is at a low risk for natural disasters.
  5. The Netherlands: If you’re looking abroad, the Netherlands is known for its ease of access to the rest of Europe, possesses a strong power infrastructure and has a climate for natural air cooling.


To assist with site selection and planning, check out these public resources on floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. ZDNet also published an infographic of which American cities are most vulnerable to natural disasters, based on a scale of hazards, from lower to higher.

Learn more