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Data Centers: Location, Location, Location

By Dick Weisinger

Realtors have long known that location is often the most important factor to success.  The same seems to hold true for data centers.  Gartner finds that the key to data center sustainability is being able to find the right location.

There are many parameters that need to be considered when deciding where to locate a data center facility.  Some of these parameters  include operating costs like electricity, data latency due to communication infrastructure, availability of skilled IT workers, and local taxes.

Of these, operating costs often carries a significant weighting.  Heating and cooling costs of data centers typically account for more than half of the cost to running a data center.  And the costs are rising rapidly.

Data Center electricity costs can be minimized by as much as 30 percent up front if designed efficiently.  Marcus Blosch, Gartner research analyst and vice president, gives as an example a comparison between Australia and New Zealand.  The energy environment in Australia is fossil fuel based, while New Zealand is much more diversified and includes geothermal, wind, tidal and hydro energy sources.

That rich diversity of alternative energy options makes places like New Zealand look like potential hotbeds for future IT services.  Blosch commented that “Given some concerns relating to data latency in some low-emission countries, it might be possible to leverage these countries into a network of IT service regions. Data storage and services from a low-emission hub could support the assessment of cloud services from adjacent high-emission intensity areas.”

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