Virginia: The Data Center Capital Of The World
By Vinay Nagpal
May 21, 2018
Now At The Confluence Of Five Continents
Northern Virginia is currently the leading data center market in the world, and the data center development in the region is showing no signs of slowing down. Loudoun County in particular clearly takes the lead in all data center markets globally; however, Prince William County, Henrico County and Hampton Roads—are regions coming up as well in the commonwealth of Virginia. Data Centers contribute over $180M annually in revenue to the Loudoun County every year. There are over 3,000 technology companies housed in the Loudoun County data centers. The tax incentives in the county include sales and use tax exemptions on servers, generators, chillers and server equipment. For those of you not familiar with Loudoun County’s location, it is located about 25 miles (40 kms) from nation’s capital, and about 25 minutes from the scenic farmland in Virginia. Loudoun County is #1 in median household income in the US, and #1 in business growth in Virginia (according to SmartAsset, 2017).
Over the last two decades of so, Ashburn has clearly made its mark on the Internet Infrastructure industry. It is indeed the leading data center market in the world – if you go by numbers, with over 75 data centers, 10M sq. ft. of operating data center capacity, over 1 GW (1000 MW) with another 4.5M sq. ft. under development. Just to put things in perspective, 1 MW can power one single-family home, so that is enough to power 1000 single family homes. Dominion Energy has done a phenomenal job of being a fantastic partner of the data center community. In addition to constantly adding capacity, they have various renewable energy programs in place as well for the data center community to take advantage of.
Northern Virginia boasts a technically skilled workforce. Huge presence of government technology contracting companies has also contributed to this pool of talented workers. Data Center operators are continuing their buildouts at a rapid pace. Increasing investments in building new and upgrading existing data centers that support the provision of Cloud services is among the main drivers of growth. Other drivers of the data center forecast include growing use of Big Data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) technology and a growing need for data center colocation and managed services. Embracing of technologies like Virtual Reality, video, social media, banking is also leading to more data generation and data consumption.