Michigan Offers Top Data Center’s Host Cities
Recently I listened to a very interesting webinar by UBM Future Cities “Choosing Your Data Center’s Host City.” The webinar focused on what qualities you should consider when selecting a location to build a data center for colocation.
Throughout the presentation, Andre Belisle shared some of the criteria that should be used when selecting a data center location.
Low Natural Disasters – A location should be selected that has low probability of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding.
Building a Data Center – If you are planning on building a data center, you want to select a location away from residential neighborhoods or other individuals that might be sensitive to noise. If you build too close to residential areas, you may have to build fences or use noise reduction materials that may add to your costs.
The building itself should be on one level. If you build a data center with 3 or 4 stories to save on land costs, it may become more costly to construct the building to support the weight of the equipment. Another thing to consider is to make sure there are no community regulations that may stop you from incorporating some functionality within your data center.
Site Location Risks – Data center locations should be away from sources of vibrations like airports, highways or trains. Water is another risk to avoid by increasing the chance of flooding.
Energy Efficiencies – Ideally you want a city that has access to two power grid sources. This is not required by the Uptime Institute, since they consider a generator the primary source of power and not the utility company, but using electricity costs less than running a generator. Another energy efficiency is a location that can offer free cooling or energy saving grants.
Disaster Recovery Site – When selecting a site for disaster recovery, it has to be a certain distance from another site to avoid destruction at both sites.
Michigan Cities – Offer Best Data Center Locations
Taking a look at Belisle’s criteria of selecting an ideal city for data centers, the state of Michigan has many cities that could be considered a prime location.
- Weather Friendly – Overall, the state of Michigan has extremely low risks for natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding and wildfires. Companies can have a peace of mind that the potential of a natural disaster is very low along with the fact that the severity of any natural disaster is minimal.
- Cost of Electricity – Energy costs makes up about 25% of data center operating costs. So, the costs of electricity should be considered when evaluating different data center locations. Michigan can offer lower energy costs ($14.63/mth for 1,000 kWh) than West and East Coast cities like New York at $21.96/mth and San Francisco at $21.66. (1)
- Free Cooling Capacity – Premier data center locations are areas that can take advantage of free cooling. Michigan has ideal average temperatures to maximize free cooling with an annual average temperature of 60/40 degrees. Another benefit to Michigan’s climate is offering year-round, cooler temperature resulting in all 8,760 hours of the year suitable for free cooling. (2)
- Power Grid Diversity – Belisle suggested that companies look for locations that allow them to connect to two different power grids. Online Tech’s Michigan colocation data centers are supported by two different commercial power grids, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy. Our Michigan colocation facilities are fully redundant, interconnected through Gigabit fiber and connected to multiple ISPs.
- Human Resources – A data center facility also needs to have access to an educated, knowledgeable workforce. After all, people are the ones who run the data center. Southeastern Michigan ranks as one of the top technology centers in the nation, according to a recent Automation Alley report. The area also is home to 27 colleges and universities that offer degrees focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In conclusion, the state of Michigan meets the key criteria for a great data center location. The geographical location offers low natural disasters and plenty of free cooling potential. Michigan can also offer diversity in power companies as well as an educated workforce. So, the next time you are evaluating locations for a data centers or colocation facility, take a closer look at Michigan for serious consideration.
1 Hydro Quebec. (2012). www.hydroquebec.com/publications/en/comparison_prices/
2 Green Grid. (2012) www.mestek.com/hvac-metal-forming-articles.asp