Why You’d Never Know Atlanta is Tops for Data Centers

Big data needs big closets.

Turns out, Atlanta’s among the best when it comes to storing the stuff.An audio version of this story

Real estate giant CBRE recently looked at the top 23 markets for data hubs, and found Atlanta is among the most cost-effective.

“You’ve got a combination of lower cost utilities and very competitive rental prices,” says Pat Lynch, CBRE’s manager of data center solutions. “The tax component is the third part.”

Couple those with the metro area’s solid IT infrastructure and decent weather, and Lynch says Atlanta rises to the top for companies wanting to store and access information.

So where are all these massive data storage centers?

Lynch declined to give specifics, but says the heaviest concentration is in Atlanta’s suburbs. And there’s a good chance you’ll not see a data center concentration near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. “We tend to avoid any location that falls within the flight path of an airport,” he says.  (Sorry, Florida. Hurricane-prone areas are also shunned.)

Companies big and small lease data center space here, says David Bader of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. “From telecommunications to finance to energy to health, we really are a unique hub of innovation,” he says.

And while Atlanta might be among the cheapest for renting data center space, it’s far from cheap. CBRE’s Pat Lynch says rates here are well above the highest commercial office rents in cities like San Francisco and New York.