Plano attracting data centers as corporations expand, relocate

With an influx of business and numerous headquarters moving to Plano, a new trend is emerging in the city: the need for data centers.

Data centers are needed to securely store, process and distribute data generated by individuals and companies, according to Stefanie Williams, an associate analyst for 451 Research, a company that helps organizations prepare for building data centers and conducts industry-wide research.

Plano is home to five data centers, one of which opened in 2015, with two more centers planned to open in the next two years.

Another business, Patronous Data Center, is planning a campus in Frisco.

“Plano really is a hotspot for companies that are relocating their regional and national headquarters,” Williams said. “[Local companies] would want a local presence rather than the data being in a different city. It allows them to keep their employees local where they are so that their IT department won’t have to travel to access the servers and do any kind of maintenance.”

Plano attracting data centers as corporations expand, relocateThe two planned data centers in Plano, Stream Data Centers and Equinix, will join T5 Data in the Legacy Business Park area.

“Most people have a [cell] phone or connect to the Internet at some point. All of the applications—all of the data, all of those pictures—can effectively land up inside of a data center,” said Jason Ferrara, chief marketing officer for Aligned Energy and Aligned Data Centers. “There are very large data centers spread throughout the world. Google, Amazon, Yahoo, LinkedIn—every company that you are aware of—has very large data centers for processing all of that data and information that we as consumers are producing on a daily basis,” he said.

A data center is comprised of computer servers that in turn store large amounts of data. Data centers are often called server farms because of the large number of servers placed in one area.

Some large companies that generate massive amounts of data prefer to host data in their own personal data centers. Others prefer to rent out space in bigger data centers known as co-location facilities, Williams said.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is centrally located, both geographically and in terms of underground fiber optic cable network connectivity, which Williams said offers Internet service providers such as AT&T and Verizon with ideal data center locations.

“The farther [away] the data is, the longer it takes to access it and in these cases even if it is a nanosecond—for some applications—it makes a difference,” Williams said.

The city of Plano has encouraged technological development and is interested in enhancing the data center industry, which makes the area appealing for potential companies that want to build a data center, Williams said.

“All of the universities and colleges in the area really promote technological education,” Williams said. “It makes it easy for people to find the human capital and run the technology.”