Monday, January 22, 2007

Data Centers in the Wilderness

Since the dawn of the dotcom days a decade ago, there have been many cities that have sprouted up as high-tech hubs across the country. Most of these cities of course are large cities in general, but their tech-specific growth originally was due to a handful of factors - primary of which seemed to be the abundance of technical talent. For example, places like Research Triangle Park in North Carolina (Duke and UNC are nearby), or the SF Bay Area (Stanford and Berkeley), or Austin Texas (U of Texas).

And along with the tech growth in these areas, all of the major ISPs opened data centers in them or nearby, so that the Tech Giants would be close to their data and that they would rely on someone else to manage it.

But now it seems that the trend is reversing. Recently, companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are opening up data centers in rural Oregon and Washington, and Google recently announced plans to build a data center in western North Carolina, far from the big cities.

Why this boom? Two reasons - Power and Prices. Both real-estate and utility charges are lower in this area. In addition, these areas look forward to cash-laden companies who want to help develop their local economies.

It is also interesting to note that the whole dotcom era practice of using outsourced data centers is seemingly reversing a bit.

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