Chicago is a popular location to build colocation and wholesale data centers. Five quick reasons to colocate a data center in Chicago:
- Chicago is the 3rd largest metro in the United States
- Nexus of connectivity options
- Low risk of natural disasters
- Low to moderate electric utility costs
- Cooler climate
Chicago Data Center Market
The Chicago Data Center Market is one of the largest data center markets in the US. It is primarily split into 2 distinct markets: Downtown Chicago and Suburban Chicago.
Downtown Chicago Market
Downtown (also known as the Loop) consists of network dense facilities and financial trading deployments. Because of the urban environment, the data centers are tall multistory buildings usually retrofitted from an office tower or a warehouse. That's ok, warehouses have "good bones" because of the ability to support high floor weights and have taller ceilings than office towers.
Downtown Chicago also has higher network density as it is a nexus of networks for the Midwest region. Digital Realty maintains the Meet-Me-Room (MMR) at 350 E Cermak (Lakeside Technology Center) and Equinix's CH1, CH2, & CH4 sites are also in the building. CoreSite's CH1 site at 427 S LaSalle offers modest network density.
The suburbs consist of data centers that are built in a campus environment where the buildings generally are 1 or 2 stories. The suburban data centers have higher power densities and offer more wholesale options. However, there are less Interconnection (Network) options and higher latencies to most destinations. (Most IP traffic needs to be hauled downtown before reaching the broader Internet.)
- QTS's Chicago site offers a mix of wholesale and retail floor space. Located in the former Sun Times Press Facility it offers a location just outside of the loop.
- Digital Realty offers 6 locations in Chicago. 350 E Cermak and 600 S Federal are downtown and network rich retail options. Digital's Franklin Park Campus and the former Dupont Fabros's campus in Elk Grove.
- RagingWire is in Itasca near Elk Grove
Retail Colocation Chicago Providers:
- Equinix has 3 locations
- Zayo has 3 sites
- Sungard has 3 sites in the Northwest
- Cyxtera offers 2 locations
- Steadfast has 2 retail locations downtown.
- CyrusOne focuses on the Fintech colo after they acquired the CME data center in Aurora.
Illinois's electricity market is deregulated that separates power generation and transport. Commonwealth Edison, aka ComEd, is the primary electric provider that generates its power from Coal (31%), Nuclear (26%, Wind (15%), Natural Gas (14%) and Hydro (7%). Pricing fluctuates, but the average cost in the $.08/kwh range.
Located at the southern end of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States with a MSA population of 9.5 million people. Chicago's economy is one of the world most diverse. There are more than 400 major corporate headquarters, including 31 in the Fortune 500. Source: Wikipedia