There's also real estate, infrastructure, materials and labor. At the moment, says David Eichorn, data center practice head for Akibia, which offers services to improve the availability, reliability and performance of data centers, Oregon is a popular data center location. That's due to a combination of a highly skilled labor force, favorable climate and lower cost of living than, say, neighboring California. (For many of the same reasons, Canada is also attracting the attention of firms looking to build a data center.)
Finally, during the site selection process, it's critical to examine network connectivity in the area and find out how close to the facility it runs. Depending on the complexity of the site and redundancy levels, the availability of multiple power sources may be a key factor for some companies.
Don't Let Energy Costs Overwhelm Your Data Center
Power doesn't come cheap. Rob Woolley, senior vice president of critical environment services for Lee Technologies, says energy costs-and the types of deals you can get from various providers in the area-have become increasingly important over the past 10 years.
"The cost of energy and availability of utilities...is at the top of everyone's list of selection criteria," Woolley says, adding that green initiatives such as free cooling can have "a major impact on savings."
Make no mistake, utility costs can be the deal breaker when choosing a site. For Lee Technologies, energy costs is also a leading indicator to get a client to build in a specific area-especially if there's hydroelectric power or another source of energy in the area that drives operational costs down. "Hydro is great power. Not only is it relatively inexpensive compared to other sources, but it's also very clean. There's very little carbon associated with hydroelectric power," Woolley says.
Akibia's Eichorn, for his part, says that green IT is one of the biggest changes in the industry. "In the past couple years, it's a positive trend that has taken hold in the data center industry."
Analysis: Are CFOs Turning Greener?