California Data Centers
It should come as no surprise that there are many data centers in California. What are the advantages? Where are the best sites within the state?
As the home to more large technology companies than any other US state, and with a GDP larger than Great Britain’s, it’s understandable why California would be such a popular data center site. According to datacenters.com, “There are currently 60 providers and 219 data centers in California. This includes 208 colocation facilities, 165 cloud nodes, 54 Internet exchanges (IX), and 55 disaster recovery and business continuity (DRBC) sites.”
Advantages of California Data Centers
In addition to the impressive economic and demographic numbers above, there are more technical reasons underpinning the popularity of California as a data center site.
- *Renewably-sourced electric power (more in our blog)
- *Low latency to in-state constituents
- *Opportunity Zones (more in our blog)
The proof of the enduring allure of California in data center site selection is in the numbers. Based on a research report by Data Center Frontier and Data Center Hawk, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that “In total, there were 498 megawatts of new power capacity planned in Silicon Valley in 2019, compared to just 104 megawatts in 2018.”
Silicon Valley remains the hottest data center market in the United States, behind Northern Virginia.
In-State Geographic Trends
Not all California data center sites are equal however. Data centers are tightly clustered in the San Francisco Bay Area and the greater Los Angeles area. While those areas make a lot of sense from a proximity and connectivity perspective, they don’t make much sense when you consider cost of land, seismic risk, wildfire risk, and flood risk.
Increasingly IT teams and facilities managers are starting to look at other parts of the state, like Sacramento. Those parts of the state can offer the same benefits as the San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) and the greater Los Angeles area, while avoiding some of the negative aspects.
There are some disadvantages to California as a data center site as well. The state has relatively high tax rates, relatively high electricity rates, and a relatively high risk of natural disasters.
If you are considering California in your data center site selection process, it is important to speak with a data center developer that knows the state well and can guide you through the strategy. Look for expertise not just in data center development and operations, but also in corporate finance. Your company’s bottom line will be impacted by a decision of this size.