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In the Growing Industry of Data Centers, D-FW is a Powerhouse

Dallas-Fort Worth’s data center market has rocketed to the second spot in the world by some measures, behind northern Virginia, as demand from the region’s vast corporate operations expands. That means big money-making opportunities.

How does D-FW stack up?

Though data centers are sort of like warehouses in that they’re places to store a lot of stuff, their capacity isn’t measured in square feet. For the people who build data centers, it’s power — measured in megawatts — that counts. The more servers you can run, the more data you can store. And power is the most expensive part of running a data center. So how does D-FW stack up with other markets? According to a recent CBRE report, we’ve surpassed Chicago and Silicon Valley.

Experts say that as companies move more of their functions into the cloud, data center operators are scurrying to scoop up tenants — businesses that don’t want to build their own data centers, which require expensive security and other infrastructure, but have too much crucial data to store on servers at their offices, where they might be more likely to fail. Another driver of data center growth is global companies whose business models rely on moving information quickly. All of that is why AllianceTexas, a huge master-planned development and logistics hub in north Fort Worth, is going all in on data centers.

AllianceTexas data center: 
— Contains 150-acre, $1 billion Facebook data center
— Powered by a new 200-megawatt wind farm
— 350-400 acres available for future data center campuses
— 400 megawatts of new data center supply when complete

“Facebook’s $1 billion investment confirmed AllianceTexas as a premier data center location, capable of supporting the exponentially growing demands and requirements of … users. Rapid growth throughout the metroplex has created a scarcity of land options to support those requirements.”
— Reid Goetz, vice president of Hillwood Properties, developer of AllianceTexas

Power play

One of the reasons North Texas is so attractive for data centers is its relatively low energy costs — and over the last four years, those costs have been declining, according to a 2016 JLL report.

“You and I are touching data centers all day long every day. … I’ve used Uber today, I’ve bought coffee on my phone today, I have transferred money to my teenager’s account today — that’s all happening on a server in a bunkered building. … It’s impactful.”
— Bo Bond, managing director and co-leader of JLL’s Data Center Solutions team

Industry demand

A wide range of industries store massive amounts of data. Here’s how demand breaks down in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“The way our digital lives are affecting the physical world — our cities, our offices — is fascinating. Mix in the way real estate impacts the broader economy, and you’ve got a market to watch closely.”
— Jill Cowan, staff writer, The Dallas Morning News

SOURCES: JLL North America Data Center Outlook 2016; AllianceTexas; CBRE U.S. Data Center Trends Report Q4 2016