Data centers are literal powerhouses for telecommunications, media, and storage systems. Because they contain everything from backup power supplies to redundant data connections to environmental controls, finding the right solutions in the right location is critical for not only the operations of the components within, but everything else they manage.
With data centers becoming more prevalent, focusing on equipment and power consumption are not the only items on the list. When it comes to priorities, the location of the data center itself will have an impact on how well it works for those who use it. Effective data center operation requires a balanced investment in both the facility and the housed equipment.
Typically, data centers were located in urban metro locations to be as close to business points as possible. Closer access points meant improved access to end users, but this is something that is shifting in the data center landscape.
Data centers located in more rural locations that are further away from business points are generally cheaper in terms of real estate, power, and cooling. There are already some big players that have exchanged their metro locations for ones that are a tad more remote; Google (News - Alert) and Microsoft, and even Amazon have data centers in the state of Washington. Colder regions in the north are especially attractive because they allow designers to take advantage of the climate for refrigeration purposes, requiring less power than traditional cooling systems.
Data centers are in demand simply because the world has become more connected, and so the modern data center is in a constant state of evolution. We’re seeing a rise in data center networking, but it’s not without its challenges. Joe Marsella of Ciena touches upon this in a recent issue of Data Center News, noting that while there are challenges, there is also a wealth of opportunity.
In terms of geographic diversity, it’s the new architectures that are facilitating the shift from urban to rural. Local governments in rural areas have several advantages that can help them capitalize on the demand, and attract high-tech companies and the jobs they create. While that’s all well and good, it comes down to latency and being able to deliver despite the miles. With a location further away from business points, latency is a great concern. An increase in distance means an increase in the time and effort to upgrade and to get a system back online.
Location is more important now than ever before because of the growth of online content traffic, but companies are doing their share to reduce latency to a minimum because even the smallest differences can have a major effect on market share.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson