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August 1, 2019 | Matt Pacheco

Chicago: An Ideal Data Center Location for IT Resilience

According to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise Digital Pulse survey, 60% of businesses will move the majority of their IT environments to off-premises providers by the end of 2019. IT resilience will be key, driving these businesses to look for data center locations less prone to disasters, with a plethora of connectivity options and robust energy sources. Data centers positioned in key markets like Chicago are an attractive option.

Did you know? Almost a third (31%) of all businesses surveyed by the Uptime Institute experienced downtime or a severe degradation in service over the past year.  For outages that affected the entire data center, these businesses were down for an average of 130 minutes.

Why the Chicago Metro area for your data center?

The data center industry is booming, especially in the Chicago Metro area. Here are some fast facts about the region:

  • The Chicago Metro area is the third largest metropolitan area in the United States with an estimated 9.5 million population.
  • Chicago has a very diverse mix of power sources and higher resiliency than other major metro areas.
  • Chicago is the third most fiber-connected city in the United States.

Data center providers and large businesses are increasingly setting up shop in Chicago. The metro area is home to the corporate headquarters of 57 Fortune 100 companies. According to Cloudscene, there are 108 Data Centers in the Chicago market along with 332 service providers and 14 Network Fabrics.

But while so many businesses and data center operators are choosing Chicago, the most important consideration is whether Chicago is right for you. Some key questions include:

  • What is the likelihood of a natural disaster in the region?
  • Does the region have the right connectivity to satisfy our needs?
  • How likely are we to experience downtime due to power outages?
  • Is the location close enough to our end-users to minimize latency issues?

Chicago area data centers can address all of these concerns.

Chicago is less prone to natural disasters

The Chicago area is less prone to most major natural disasters than other major US markets. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and volcanoes pose little to no threat to the region. Chicago can be hit with snowstorms and extreme cold temperatures in winter months, but enterprise-class data centers are ready and prepared.

Chicago is the third most fiber-connected US market

This makes it attractive for data-intensive business. Many businesses have housed their telecommunications infrastructure for decades in Chicago’s iconic downtown facilities. Data centers benefit from this well-established infrastructure.

Chicago offers greater energy resiliency

On a day-to-day basis, the US grid is arguably more stable than it’s ever been. Changes have been made in recent decades to keep a blackout in one region from cascading into other areas. But, local outages still happen fairly frequently, and as the population grows, the grid is under increasing pressure.

Illinois’ track record for energy resiliency compares favorably to other densely populated states. In 2018, there were a total of 871 outages reported at an average of 88 minutes each. There were 4297 outages reported in California at an average of 133 minutes each. New York saw 1,528 outages at an average of 103 minutes each.

Chicago is in close proximity to millions of customers

Housing workloads closer to end users, whether they be customers to your website or portal or your internal users, can help decrease latency. Located near the middle of the United States between the East and West coasts, The Chicago metro area is home to close to 10 million people in an area that is roughly 10,000 square miles, making it the third most populous region in the country and the third most densely packed. The population and connectivity options are so attractive that even hyperscale providers consider Chicago to be a key “edge” location.

Choosing the right data center in Chicago

Not all data centers and providers are created equal and it’s always best to have a data center location strategy prepared and at the ready. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a data center in the Chicago Metro region:

  1. Choose a data center provider with experience in the region. Sometimes this could mean connecting with a provider with more than one data center in that region. This shows that the provider knows the region and has the experience and confidence to help you. More data centers could also result in more recovery options for your business continuity and disaster recovery plan.
  2. Find a provider with a clear focus on uptime. You want a provider with redundant UPS systems, generators with onsite fuel, electric feeds from multiple substations, and 100% uptime SLAs.
  3. Select a provider with multiple connectivity options. Having connectivity options allows businesses to choose the right carrier for their needs. A connection-rich region like Chicago is also great for businesses that want to add edge computing to their hybrid IT infrastructure mix.
  4. Look for a provider with a range of services. Your needs may change over time as your business grows. A great data center provider will offer a range of services, from colocation and cloud platforms to disaster recovery and cybersecurity services.

Is a Chicago Data Center right for you?

Many businesses have already started gravitating towards the region. We have two Data Centers in Chicago. Schedule a tour today to learn more about our data centers.

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