Location, Location, Location – Where to Build Cost-Effective, Efficient Data Centers

By Lori McConvilleBlog

In this modern, always-connected age of the Internet where you can get halfway around the world through a click of the mouse, it may seem like the location of a data center is no big deal. However, there are key factors that shouldn’t be ignored.

Consider building construction and materials, think climate, think cost and efficiency. What do all of these things have in common? They are the key factors that have to be considered before choosing a data center location.

The first question to answer in the decision-making process is whether to have your data center onsite, or build another facility offsite. In deciding between onsite and offsite, it’s important to consider cost and efficiency. Once you consider costs and how it affects company efficiency, it’s likely that you will want a third-party company like Enseva to help build, and maintain an offsite location.

The primary issue facing a company that chooses to have a data center onsite is power costs, especially cooling costs. Dan Maxcy, the Vice President of Engineered Systems for Power Protection Inc., said data center equipment has to be kept within a degree or two of 74 degrees. That means cooling costs can be high for companies housing all equipment onsite.

The great thing about going offsite with your data center is that many of the tough decisions are then made by Enseva, including doing what’s best to keep power costs down. To keep power costs down, the experts at Enseva understand that choosing the right city and state to house valuable equipment is very important.

Maxcy said cooling costs are already high and finding a good location will help bring costs down. Using Iowa versus Arizona as an example, Maxcy said the two states are like night and day when it comes to impacting a company’s bottom line to maintain an efficient data center.

“There is a massive difference with location and power costs,” Maxcy said. “That’s where a company like Enseva pays off.”

When a cooling center has to be kept within one or two degrees of 74 degrees, the dry Arizona heat can wreak havoc on electric bills. Arizona temperatures exceed 70 degrees at least 9 months out of the year.

Chris Sevey, CTO and founder of Enseva, explained that in Iowa actual power costs are some of the lowest in the country, and the state also doesn’t apply sales tax for power use.

Unlike Arizona, Iowa is also known for having cooler temperatures most of the year.

“Iowa is lower than 60 degrees for six months out of the year, then, it’s mild after that,” Sevey said. “That means free cooling costs for half the year, which can mean big savings for any company.”

Besides temperature, there’s a lot more to consider when selecting a data-center location. Again, looking at Iowa, Maxcy pointed out that it is primarily uneventful when it comes to weather tragedies, meaning no earthquakes and not a lot of flooding.

Maxcy said Iowa is known for having some tornados, but pointed out that companies like Enseva are experts in the field, knowing exactly what kind of low-cost materials to use to build a data center that can withstand the force of most tornados.

Maxcy said it’s no secret that Iowa has become a prime location for data center construction. Last year, Google announced a $1 billion project, while Facebook is building a third data center in Iowa.