July 16, 2024


History of Northern Virginia Data Centers

During the late 1960s, the U.S. Government began experimenting with fiber optic networking. It was Northern Virginia’s low-latency connections to the national fiber network backbone that positioned the area as the top market for network peering serving some of the world’s largest Security Firms, IT and   telecommunications firms. Over the last fifteen years, Northern Virginia has continued to evolve into the largest cloud and colocation data center market in the world.

Current Developments

As technology and electronics manufacturing becomes more prevalent in everything we do, the need for growth is inevitable. Increased use of social media and online streaming currently drives consumer demand. In the corporate environment, increased demand can be attributed to the shift from private servers to cloud-based solutions, and the increase of Internet of Things (IOT) deployments. Around 95% of all businesses today are using the cloud to some degree.

In order to remain successful, cloud service and managed security providers are expanding even more to accommodate the enormous amounts of data being collected and consumed. Several cloud providers currently operating in Northern Virginia have already predicted that they will need to triple their infrastructure by the year 2020.

Data center inventory levels continue to rise to meet growing demand and nearly every MegaWatt of capacity that is constructed is occupied shortly after it is commissioned.  Growth in Northern Virginia is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year despite the high cost per acre, which currently sits around $1.2 million.  Some predict that the explosive growth in the region will continue at least through 2022.

As demand rises and needs change, we’re starting to see a trend of building up, vertically, as opposed to building out. Multi story data centers are becoming more common as leaders in the industry attempt to save space, while accommodating changing demands. By building up, large companies can pack more servers into the same real estate footprint.

Future Developments

Demand for mission critical infrastructure increased IT security resources and productivity is at an all time high. This demand is matched by an increased need for higher efficiency, cost savings, and reduced environmental impact. Companies must adjust if they wish to keep up with changing demands.

As the data center market continues to grow, more companies are looking beyond Loudoun County, particularly in neighboring Prince William County. Prince William County currently supports 3.5 million square feet of data center space for industry giants including Amazon Web Services, Cloud HQ, and Iron Mountain. Another colo REIT, QTS Data Centers, announced this year their plans to build a 24-megawatt data center in Manassas.

With all this growth, it would appear that Northern Virginia will remain at the top of the data center rankings nationally, and possibly globally, for years to come.