01-17-13 | Blog Post

High Density of Data Centers Correlate with Disaster Zones; Michigan Provides Safe Haven

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Gigaom.com reports that the greatest amount of data centers are located, most inconveniently, in states that have also experienced the greatest number of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) disaster declarations. Coincidence? Not really – data centers can be found closer to their core user base, so population size will often dictate the number of data centers.

Which states are hit the hardest? Texas declared 332 disasters (location of more than 120 data centers), and California came in second at 211 (greater than 160 data centers). Oklahoma was next at 167, and Oregon, New York, Washington and Florida declared between 75-130 disasters. A FEMA disaster declaration is classified when a natural disaster forces a state governor to ask the federal government to step in with assistance due to lack of state and local resources.

FEMA Disaster Declarations by State
FEMA Disaster Declarations by State

What does this mean for data centers? A recent NYTimes.com article reports metropolitan building developers are revamping their floorplans as they relocate generators and mechanical systems typically housed in basements of tall buildings. One building moved their backup generator to the rooftop to avoid flood damage. Another has plans for 13-foot floodgates from the basement to the second floor to keep electrical systems dry in the event of another flood. These redesigns are not only very costly upfront, but also limit sellable space in upper floors, resulting in some business loss.

All of this planning may not help avoid the effects of unpredictable weather, but a more cost-effective solution may be to move applications and data away from the densely-packed, disaster-prone regions of the nation to safer inland data centers. Michigan declared less than 20 FEMA disasters, making it an extremely low-risk location for disaster recovery and colocation.

Michigan also has lower operating costs due to the naturally cool climate that keeps servers at an ideal temperature without the need for high cooling costs – meaning both Michigan data center operators and clients win. Although business owners may typically prefer their data centers to be closer to company headquarters, in the event of disasters like hurricanes that can stretch for miles away, offsite data backups can prove to be advantageous to business continuity plans.

Find out more about Online Tech’s advantages over East and west coast providers with the strategic design of our facilities here. Access our Michigan IT Resource Library for Michigan technology articles, recorded seminars and webinars, white papers and more about our dedication to serving not only local Michigan businesses but also out-of-state organizations that recognize the need for an offsite, safe location for secure data hosting.

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The States with the Most Data Centers Are Also the Most Disaster-Prone
FEMA: Disasters By State

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