CRE X Missouri

Jones Lang LaSalle's Naeger: A data center boom taking place in St. Louis

As technology and increased connectivity continue to drive important business decisions, companies are taking a critical look at how data storage and processing supports those decisions and impacts their bottom lines. This focus on finding the best way to store and manage technology has created a thriving data center environment in St. Louis.

Guest column by David Naeger Vice president in St. Louis office of Jones Lang LaSalle

As technology and increased connectivity continue to drive important business decisions, companies are taking a critical look at how data storage and processing supports those decisions and impacts their bottom lines. This focus on finding the best way to store and manage technology has created a thriving data center environment in St. Louis.

The city has become a hotbed of data center activity because of its central Midwestern location, favorable cost of living, educated labor pool and low power costs. St. Louis also is a major convergence spot for fiber optic providers and is considered a key network peering city. Currently, there are 10 Fortune 500 companies with major data centers in St. Louis. Also, five of the top 10 North American data center providers have operations here. We expect that number will rise even higher during the next several years.

This positive environment translates to a wide array of choices for today's companies. The options range from fully managed providers that can support all IT functions to wholesale space providers for companies that want to manage their own infrastructure to hybrid facilities that cater to companies with mixed needs.

Many businesses are opting for a hybrid solution, which is helping drive an expansion in multi-tenant data centers. These facilities provide a convenient way for businesses to outsource their technology in an economical, shared space and infrastructure environment. This allows business owners to minimize the costs required to build their own infrastructure while gaining the security expertise, increased bandwidth availability and service reliability associated with a data center.

There currently are three data center expansions under way in St. Louis. These providers are expanding not only for current demand, but to stay ahead of expected growth in the industry. These expansions include wholesale space, pure co-location and hybrid (co-location and managed services) solution providers. This industry wide growth is being realized in both St. Louis and St. Louis County.

As cloud computing continues to expand, for example, more and more businesses will need ways to facilitate the safe integration of their applications, smart phones, tablets and other devices into their business operations.

As companies evaluate their data center needs, they should look closely at their business model and projected business growth and determine how IT will facilitate and support that model and growth.  Choosing a data center provider that can scale, accommodate and support dynamic IT needs is critical to achieving business success in today’s online environment.

Dave Naeger leads Jones Lang LaSalle's data center practice group in St. Louis. He is a 15-year veteran of the data center industry in the Midwest and works with many local, regional and national companies to develop business plans for data center moves, migrations and upgrades.