Northern Virginia remains the ‘King of the Cloud’

Northern Virginia remains the world’s largest hub for internet traffic with more new data center capacity coming online in the first half of 2020 than anywhere else around the globe.

Commercial real estate firm CBRE reports Northern Virginia accounted for 70% of the 134.9 megawatts of net absorption among primary markets through June 2020. It continues growing, with the region’s total data center inventory growing 24% year-over-year to approximately 1.3 gigawatts.

“What is remarkable about Northern Virginia is that it is almost four times the size of the next largest data center market in the country, which is Dallas,” CBRE Vice President Jamie Jelinek told WTOP. “Globally, it is more than two times the size of the next largest market, which is London.”

Northern Virginia also accounts for 64% of data center construction underway or planned in primary markets, and strong leasing activity is expected over the second half of 2020.

The region remains attractive for data center developers for three big reasons: A robust fiber network in the region, generous tax breaks and low utility rates. Data centers are, after all, energy hogs.

“A four-megawatt, 20,000-square-foot data hall utilizes the same amount of power as 2,000 homes,” Jelinek said. “So it is a substantial amount of power within a small amount of space.”

Data centers are responsible for storing and moving about huge amounts of valuable and sensitive data, and maintaining physical security at facilities is a top priority.

“I’d say almost every data center will have a security fence, security guards, multiple biometric and security access points before you can ultimately get to a server within the facility,” Jelinek added.

There are currently around 90 large co-location centers in Northern Virginia, of which more than 80% are located in Loudoun County.

The seven primary U.S. data center markets are Northern Virginia, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Phoenix, the New York Tri-State area and Atlanta.

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