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U.S. Still Best Data Center Location, But Nordics Gaining

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Cushman & Wakefield and hurleypalmerflatt have compiled a survey of the most popular countries for data center development. Click the image for a larger version of the chart.

The United States remains the most popular country in which to locate a data center, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany, according to a report released today by global consultancies Cushman & Wakefield and hurleypalmerflatt.

But the survey showed growing interest in the Nordic countries as data center destinations, a trend driven by the focus on cool climates and renewable energy sourcing.Leading the way was Iceland,which was the fourth most popular location, followed by Sweden (eighth) and Norway (12th).

The colder climate in Scandinavian countries allows increased use of free cooling (the use of fresh air in cooling systems), which can reduce reliance on mechanical cooling, the survey said.

“Rise of the Nordics”

“What we are seeing, certainly in the data storage market, is the rise of the Nordics, which may in the future dilute the market share from the traditional centres in Europe,” said Keith Inglis, partner in the EMEA Data Centre Advisory Group at Cushman & Wakefield. “Google has built a facility in Hamina, Finland and Facebook is constructing a substantial new data center in Lulea, Sweden. The cool climate is ideal for free cooling technologies and the abundance of renewable power and water make this region an increasingly attractive option. Iceland, ranked fourth is a new entrant to our Index and is the highest ranked of the Nordic counties.”

The index ranks countries according to the risks likely to affect the successful operation of a data centre, risk factors such as energy costs, connectivity, and the likelihood of natural disasters or political instability.

The U.S. retains its first place ranking and is considered the lowest risk location for building and operating a data center in the world. The UK has moved up from fifth ranking in 2011 to second position this year, despite expressions of concern from the industry about the impact of new carbon regulations. Hong Kong has maintained its position as the location with the least risk in Asia, and ranks seventh.

“Indonesia, India and Brazil are all considered growth markets, but with barriers to entry, regulated markets and high energy costs they do score poorly relative to the more established economic markets,” said Stephen Whatling, Global Service Director at hurleypalmerflatt. “Connectivity is also a problem but as these markets continue to be invested in and the infrastructure becomes more developed we would expect them to rise up the rankings.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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