Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Makes a Good Data Center Location?

If you were to ask this question 15 years ago you would get a different answer from many than you do today.

Data Center siting ca. 1994 was about proximity and network. You needed to be close enough for your labor force to have easy access and to connect to two to three networks at a reasonable cost. In those days, reasonable cost meant "zero mile" circuits which were typically in downtown areas.

Today, network is ubiquitous and cheap so it is not nearly the limiting factor. Data centers are also increasingly evolving into infrastructure facilities that require much less support from a companies labor force.

So the major determinant today is cost of the data centers. Over the last few years that meant the cost of power, but today it is a much more wholistic synthesis of power cost, construction cost, and labor costs. In some cases, network has re-emerged as people have looked to remote regions of the world that lack ample and competitive networks, but again this is primarily a cost factor.

The data center business is good right now, and it is expected to continue in that direction, but I think that we will increasingly see an emphasis on cost, including the development of a range of new metrics to compare facilities.

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