Cities and regions with the highest concentration of data centers
- February 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 2

Cities and regions with the highest concentration of data centers

by Dgtl Infra

Surging demand for data consumption and storage is driving a rapid expansion of data centers in the United States. These U.S. data centers are located in areas with abundant electricity for their intense power demands, copious amounts of water for cooling, access to fiber connectivity, affordable real estate, tax incentives and away from regions that are prone to natural disasters.

U.S. data centers are primarily located in Northern Virginia, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, the New York/New Jersey area, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

Data centers are highly specialized buildings equipped with power and cooling infrastructure that house computer servers and network equipment. Common questions about data centers are as follows.

Where are U.S. data centers more specifically located? The primary data center markets in the United States are located in Northern Virginia, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, New York/New Jersey, Seattle and Los Angeles. Secondary markets for data centers include Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Columbus, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

How many data centers are located in the United States? There are more than 2,500 data centers, and of this total, about 50 percent are located in the primary data center markets, while the remaining 50 percent are scattered throughout many smaller secondary data center markets.

Who owns the most data centers? Digital Realty owns the most U.S. data centers with 132 facilities, comprising 1,226 megawatts of white space IT load across 23.4 million net rentable square feet. While Equinix operates the second most data centers with 75 facilities, only about 60 percent of these data centers are owned, with the remaining roughly 40 percent are being leased.

What is the largest data center in the United States? The largest U.S. data center is owned by Meta Platforms (Facebook), spanning 4.6 million square feet located in Prineville, Ore., a city situated about 150 miles southeast of Portland. Meta Platforms broke ground on its Prineville data center campus in 2010, with its initial buildings coming online in 2011. Cumulatively, the company is building 11 data centers at this campus as part of a more than $2 billion investment spanning.

The average full-scale data center is 100,000 square feet in size and runs around 100,000 servers, which are essentially powerful computers. Servers are often stored in racks, which is like a cabinet for multiple servers.

Though Amazon — both a giant online retailer and the largest cloud computer company in the United — doesn't disclose details of its infrastructure, including how many servers it uses, research estimates conclude that Amazon Web Services is using at least 454,400 servers in seven data center hubs around the world.

Northern Virginia is the largest data center market in the United States and comprises several counties located 20 to 40 miles west of Washington, D.C. Specifically, Northern Virginia includes Loudoun County (Ashburn, Sterling, Leesburg, Arcola), Prince William County (Manassas, Gainesville, Haymarket), and Fairfax County (Reston, Herndon, Chantilly, Vienna, McLean, Tysons), among others. Those data centers are powered by Dominion Energy, the largest electric utility serving Northern Virginia, and NOVEC (Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative) is another important provider of power. Cloud computing services operating in the area include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Meta Platforms (Facebook).

Northern Virginia is followed by Dallas and its neighboring suburbs, including Allen, Carrollton, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Irving, Lewisville, Plano, and Richardson. In total, the area is home to more than 150 data centers and more than 650 megawatts of multi-tenant commissioned power. Among its wholesale data centers are Digital Realty, CyrusOne, QTS Data Centers, STACK Infrastructure. Retail colocation players such as Equinix, DataBank, Flexential and Cyxtera can be found there.

Silicon Valley, the country’s third-largest data center market, has more than 160 data centers with more than 625 megawatts of power supplied primarily by Pacific Gas & Electric and Silicon Valley Power. Operating from those facilities is a veritable who’s who of retail colocation and wholesale data center players, as well as cloud computer giants, including Alibaba Cloud and Oracle Cloud.

The greater Phoenix area with its surrounding communities of Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and Goodyear, represent the fourth-ranked data center market, with more than 90 facilities and more than 600 megawatt of multi-tenant commissioned power. Digital Realty is a player there, as are Cyxtera, Flexential, CyrusOne, Iron Mountain, Aligned Data Centers and Compass Datacenters.

To spotlight one of the data center giants, consider Facebook, which owns and operates 18 data center campuses globally, encompassing 40 million square feet and investment in excess of $20 billion. In the United States, Facebook owns and operates 14 data center campuses spanning 34.2 million square feet at a cost of more than $16 billion, while in Europe and Asia Pacific, the company owns and operates four data center campuses covering 5.4 million square feet at an investment of more than $4 billion.

Not all data centers serve the same function. There are four common types of data centers: onsite, colocation facilities, hyperscale, and edge data centers.

An onsite data center is sited on a company’s headquarters or corporate campus, and are relatively easy to maintain and access, according to Lightyear. Their proximity to company operations alleviates network troubleshooting and they can readily be scaled up or down as needed.

Colocation facilities are defined by CoreSite as a data center offering space to host businesses' computing hardware and servers.

Hyperscale data centers, according to Vertiv, are massive business-critical facilities designed to efficiently support scalable applications and are often associated with big data-producing companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft.

TechTarget reports that an edge data center is located between connected IoT devices and the public cloud or a centralized data center. In an edge computing architecture, time-sensitive data may be processed at the point of origin by an intermediary server that is located in close geographical proximity to the client. The facilities enable new applications by reducing latency and optimizing bandwidth.


Excerpted from a report by Dgtl Infra, with sourcing from other firms. Read the full report here.


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