Location, Location, Location: Getting the Data Center Site Right

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Real estate site selection is one of the most important decisions a company must make when embarking on the build of a data center. Proper site selection must take into consideration the availability and cost of power among other key factors in the selection process.

Telx CEO Chris Downie outlines the key factors in site selection in a video interview on Ideal Data Center Site Selection, which is part of Schneider Electric’s series on the “7 Winning Strategies for Building a Successful Data Center Business.”

Downie explains, “Everything starts and stops with power, so power availability is very important. It’s about where there is an abundance of power to support the long-term customer requirements and also power affordability.”

Network connectivity is No. 2 on the list. After all, how can a data center deliver the content of customer applications without it? This leads to thinking about distance from the location of customers with latency-sensitive applications as well as the ability to scale as the demand for more data grows.

When it comes to business continuity, geography can come with risk. The most common natural threats are include flooding, tornados, earthquakes, thunderstorms, blizzards and lightning strikes. Man made threats include things such as location to railways, highways, gas lines and airports.

Such risks must be avoided as much as possible, but also incorporated into disaster preparedness plans, as covered in the report, “Site Selection for Mission Critical Facilities” by Schneider Electric senior research analyst Wendy Torell, who provides excellent advice to not only help to identify these and other (sometimes overlooked) hazards — like municipal construction, neighbors and labor shortage — but offers techniques for mitigating damage should downtime occur, especially given today’s need for 24-7 operations.

In addition, other costs related to location such as tax incentives should be weighed along with local regulations and staffing availability, which according to Downie, can be a key differentiator.

Power and network availability, geography and economics factors are key to selecting the appropriate data center site and, each of these come with their own set of sub-factors as well.

Site benefits and risks must be thoroughly vetted, investigated and analyzed. Diligence up front in finding the perfect location will surely reduce the risk and costs of a long-term business disruption.

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