May 27, 2022

“Go West, young man,” was a popular anthem and phrase in the mid-1800s, as pioneers moved westwards over the prairies and left New England and the original 13 states behind to follow “manifest destiny” and carve-out their own chunk of the American Dream. Thus the West was won and eventually, Silicon Valley came to be.

Today, particularly for those IT and tech firms located on the West coast, “Go East” may become the next geo-related phrase, as the Midwest seems on the cusp of becoming an attractive location for IT development – particularly for data centers and their specific needs for energy, space, security and scalability.

As guest writer Blake Proffitt recently wrote in a Data Center Frontier article regarding the blooming of the Midwest as a data center garden, “The data center, cloud, and connectivity industries have long taken cues from hyperscalers and Fortune 500 enterprises. And one interesting trend that we’ve seen from that community over the past few years has been a midwestern crawl. In 2017, Rich Miller wrote about the Midwest playing a growing role in cloud infrastructure, with Iowa housing giant cloud campuses for Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft …. Cut to 2022, and we’re still seeing the Midwest in headlines as a tech capital. During President Biden’s March 1 State of the Union address, he congratulated Intel on its plans to build a $20 billion semiconductor “mega-site” near Columbus, Ohio. Santa Clara-based Intel helped to build Silicon Valley. As Rich Miller pointed out, this mega-site’s location in Licking County, Ohio ‘is also home to one the country’s fastest-growing clusters of hyperscale data centers.’”

Although this focus on the Midwest may seem counterintuitive to some Silicon Valley natives and transplants alike, there are many reasons why the Midwest is becoming an attractive destination for data centers and their needs for floorspace, affordable power, and expansion over time. Keep in mind the astronomical cost of real estate on the West Coast, as well as the unpredictability of the land mass there due to earthquakes – Disaster Avoidance being a serious topic for every data center and its denizens – and you have two strong motivating factors to consider when thinking about where one will build their next data center, or where an enterprise or smaller company will collocate their IT resources.

Concerning just the second of the two factors mentioned above, Mr.Proffitt opines, “Anyone who has experienced mother nature’s wrath can attest to the stress that can come from natural disasters. Add in the IT-related financial consequences associated with natural disasters and it’s a price that many businesses simply can’t afford to pay. A study by Gartner estimates a businesses’ average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute. This makes it easy to understand why, during the site selection process, operational leaders carefully evaluate locations based on climate, environmental conditions, and the probability of a natural disaster.”

The Midwest has much to offer, with far greater affordability than West Coast locations at this juncture in time. Coincidentally, Altus makes our home in Cleveland, Ohio, although we serve our clients everywhere across the United States. Wherever your data center happens to be, our data center consultants are ready to be of assistance, although the future may find our Future Growth Analysis and Geo/Political Analysis services recommending more midwestern placements as this trend continues to develop.

Please read the complete Data Center Frontier article here to learn the five essential reasons why the Midwest is growing as a viable location for data center development. Considering a data center migration or relocation currently for your IT needs? Altus specializes in these complex projects and has vast experience and know-how to execute them for our customers without error. Please reach-out to us and let’s begin an important conversation for the future of your growing business.

Visit our Case Studies section and learn how Altus has assisted numerous clients in the past with data center migrations and IT move events.