Metro Phoenix has emerged as a hub for data centers — facilities that support diverse computerized operations, often for multiple corporate customers — and that progress is showing no signs of abating.
Reasonable costs for electricity, access to skilled employees and the lack of natural disasters all make the area a good fit for these facilities, said Bryan Smith, a senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Expedient. On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh-based company became the latest corporation to announce a 45,000-square-foot data center in metro Phoenix.
Those same factors also are fueling the construction of new and larger data centers, typically on the outskirts of the Valley.
The new construction projects include an east Mesa campus featuring seven data centers being built by Japan’s NTT Ltd. and a Facebook data center also going up in east Mesa, the company’s first Arizona investment. In the West Valley, new investments include a three-center campus in Goodyear being built by Vantage Data Centers.
Many of these facilities are expected to open in 2022 or 2023.
Expedient’s new operations
Expedient’s data center in north Phoenix, near Dunlap Avenue and Interstate 17, is serving clients that include the University of Phoenix, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the anchor tenant.
The center will support cloud-based services for customers in the western U.S. and include data storage, disaster recovery, security and high-speed network connectivity.
Data centers house servers, storage systems and related equipment and typically employ dozens to more than a hundred people. Cloud computing refers to information handled by servers in a data center rather than on equipment managed directly by a corporate or institutional user.
Phoenix among national leaders
The Phoenix metro region ranked third nationally for data-center construction in the first half of 2021 behind northern Virginia and the Pacific Northwest and ahead of metro Chicago, according to a report by JLL, a real estate services firm. Demand for data-center services is driven largely by companies in technology, retail, health care and finance, the report added.
Nationally, demand for data-center services is expected to grow around 8% this year, according to research firm Gartner.
At midyear, metro Phoenix had nearly 1 million square feet of planned data-center space to complement around 2.2 million square feet of existing inventory, according to JLL. However, the building boom also has driven up the price of industrial space in the region, the report said. That factor might slow construction and impede the area’s attractiveness down the road.
Article originally posted on AZ Central on November 2, 2021