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Data centers shifting toward the suburbs

By Max Burkhalter
August 13, 2014

Data centers have historically been built in the heart of a bustling metropolis, in close proximity to the corporate offices that utilize their services. This trend has begun to shift as more data center projects pop up in the suburbs. Operating a facility from a suburb presents unique challenges but the advantages of putting up shop away from city centers has appealed to large and small data firms alike.

Perks of the neighborhood
CloudTech notes that there are several advantages for companies operating data centers in suburbs. One of the most obvious advantages is space. Many companies have migrated their data centers to the suburbs because their data storage needs exceeded available space within the city limits. Another advantage is the price of real estate. Companies can dodge the pricey leases common to major metro areas by moving their servers out of downtown.

This practice has already gained popularity in major cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.. As a result, hundreds of satellite facilities and new data centers have appeared across northern New Jersey and Virginia. Suburban data centers have also gained momentum internationally. CloudTech reports that London firms have spread to surrounding neighborhoods as well.

The move to the suburbs does come with its own barriers, says InformationWeek. Connecting satellite data centers to central servers requires companies to transfer data over public optical networks. Some companies choose to streamline the transfer of data between satellite and central data center by networking through an additional terminal facility. Other firms move their most important hardware infrastructure to their suburban centers to localize their key servers and simplify maintenance. Thankfully, the prevalence of fiber-to-Ethernet connections makes this process easy. Data centers that utilize loud cooling fans may also need to develop noise pollution solutions to comply with local city codes.

Coast to coast projects
Portland's suburbs have long been home to data centers for industry titans like Google and Amazon, according to The Oregonian. Mid-sized data centers have also begun to populate the area. Just last year saw Colorado company ViaWest expand their data center operations to Hillsboro with a 20,000-square-foot data center. The small-town vibe of the Portland neighborhood was a great fit for ViaWest's modest data center needs.

The suburbs of Chicago have proven to be 2014's hotspot for new data center projects. Data Center Knowledge reports that ByteGrid has recently invested in an existing 70,000-square-foot center in Aurora. Another firm, Latisys, announced the construction of a 24,600-square-foot facility in Oak Brook. This satellite will support the company's main 148,000-square-foot facility in central Chicago, says the company website.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160 km.


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