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Inward Investment Guides
Data Center Location Choices Led By Environmental, Power Concerns
Data center site selection is driven by environmental, power, connectivity, tax and incentive, construction, and labor concerns - in that order.
Brian Oley, Vice President of Mission Critical Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle (September 2010)
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Site Selection Model
So now that some typical areas of investigation for medium- to large-size data centers have been revealed, applying this market knowledge to the process is the next logical step. For simplicity, let's examine the model and categories in Figure 1. Breaking these components or categories down and examining what's important within each factor is the next step. Again, working under the assumptions of usual importance, a typical model of categories and subcategories is illustrated in Figure 2. Having run this scenario multiple times, I have generalized a data center site selection study previously conducted based on popular locations for various types of data center users, namely (1) collocation providers, and (2) enterprise users. In the 10-market example as shown in Figure 3, the data entry yielded the results cited.

Noteworthy caveats are as follows: the lower the rating, the more favorable a given market will be for locating a data center based on the attributes and weighted importance outlined in this study; the subcategories act as a catalyst to formulate a categorical value; the quantitative figures cited, for simplicity's sake, have been transformed from numbers to colors, where green indicates favorable, yellow is moderately favorable, and red is less than favorable.

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The Ultimate Goal
In summary, each and every user in the market for a data center will have different needs and varying levels of concerns toward those needs. This will modify how one views a favorable location - which will ultimately change the actual favorable locations.

What's important in the process is to bridge the corporate communication gap between those who can provide valued input of both what you currently have, what you'll need in the future, what the important drivers are, and how important these drivers are to you. Oversights, miscommunications, and a lack of internal corporate participation can translate into delays, ultimately costing you money. Therefore, by utilizing the strategy outlined, you can begin to accomplish the ultimate goal of finding the best place to locate your data center.

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RELATED TOPICS AND ARTICLES
Have questions, comments or concerns about this article? Submit to Ask Area Development here and the author or an expert from our network of site selection and facility planning professionals will answer:
How can data centers limit their power costs?
A data center user can moderate volatility risks and locate low cost power by a simple examination of the generation mix. More
- Brian Oley, Vice President of Mission Critical Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle
What specific environmental concerns pose red flags for data centers? Are any tolerable for data centers?
While all environmental concerns are usually considered, there are six primary environmental concerns to data center users on an aggregate level. More
- Brian Oley, Vice President of Mission Critical Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle
Why is there such a low supply of data center sites compared to demand?
The market for U.S. data centers has shown some very interesting behavior over the past few years. Most notably, it has experienced a classic supply/demand imbalance, which has perceptually defied all economic logic. More
- Brian Oley, Vice President of Mission Critical Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle
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