There are a number of factors that make a data center’s location critical to a customer’s operations. When evaluating the geographical, security and power aspects of a data center’s location, it’s critical for a customer to also consider the location’s primary and alternate offerings in this regard. The data center’s geographic location needs to be largely immune to inclement weather, seismic activity and floods that could impact mission-critical operations. The availability of inexpensive, nearby sources and/or backup sources of renewable energy, in case of an emergency, that reduce reliance on the wider power grid is key to uninterrupted operations.
While physical security is an imperative, the possibility of man-made disasters must also be considered, which is why many customers don’t want a data center located anywhere near biological labs, chemical plants and nuclear facilities, including railroad lines that might transport hazardous materials — any malfunction in any one of these in the neighborhood could be detrimental to data center operations. It’s also critical to choose a data center that is located away from major population centers and associated threat vectors. Most importantly, from a disaster recovery plan standpoint, it’s location that requires a data center to meet all of the aforementioned features to ensure smooth 7x24x365 operations.
In mission-critical industries in the commercial world, especially in the finance and banking sectors, data center locations are of utmost importance because of these sectors’ need for time-sensitive transactions, where latency of even a few milliseconds as data travels to a distant server could adversely impact operations and revenues. Mineral Gap benefits from the 4,000-mile, 160Tb-per-second Marea cable, which adds not only resiliency by bringing the cable ashore far south of the typical New York/New Jersey transAtlantic hookups, but also adds massive capacity for increased connectivity for Mineral Gap customers — a huge advantage compared to other Virginia colocation data centers — since part of Marea connects to nearby high-speed fiber, thanks to the work of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and LIT Networks.
In the healthcare sector, HIPAA regulations and the HITRUST CSF security framework require data centers to have policies and procedures in place for safeguarding electronic health information at all times, including in the event of natural and man-made disasters, which makes their location decision of paramount importance.