Ashburn, Virginia, recognized globally as the data center capital of the World, has achieved this status due to its strategic location, superior fiber infrastructure, cost-effective energy, and strong government support.
Situated in the Dulles Technology Corridor with easy access to major Eastern Metropolitan areas, Ashburn also benefits from significant tax incentives for data center operations.
It currently houses approximately 118 data centers spanning over 10 million square feet.
These factors, combined, have positioned Ashburn at the forefront of the data center industry, driving its growth and innovation.
1. Ashburn’s Strategic Geographical Position
The strategic geographical position of Ashburn, nestled in Northern Virginia and within the Dulles Technology Corridor, significantly contributes to its global prominence as a leading data center hub. Ashburn’s data center industry is a critical component of its economic vitality, with numerous operators taking advantage of the region’s unique geographical advantages.
As the data center capital, Ashburn is a beacon of technological development, boasting a thriving ecosystem that connects businesses worldwide.
The Northern Virginia data center market, particularly Ashburn, is the largest in the world, with over 13.5 million square feet of commissioned data center space. The proximity of Ashburn to major metropolitan areas and its access to crucial fiber routes ensures high-speed, reliable connectivity. This, coupled with the region’s low risk of natural disasters, makes Virginia an appealing choice for data center operators.
2. Superior Fiber Infrastructure in Ashburn
Ashburn’s superior fiber infrastructure sets it apart as a key player in the global data center landscape. As the data center capital of the world, Ashburn, VA, is home to an extensive network of fiber infrastructure that ensures high-speed data transmission and robust connectivity.
These fiber-dense roads, coupled with redundant fiber optic loops and cross-connect opportunities, make Ashburn a preferred location for data center operators. The area’s superior fiber infrastructure in Ashburn is further enhanced by subsea fiber cables from Europe and South America, which land in Virginia Beach and route through Loudoun County’s Data Center Alley.
This network of fiber infrastructure not only boosts the performance of data centers in Ashburn but also contributes to the region’s economic growth by attracting more businesses to set up their data centers. Moreover, the early expansion of internet and fiber investments during the 1990s has also played a pivotal role in creating this superior fiber infrastructure.
3. Attractive Energy and Operational Costs
In today’s digital age, Ashburn, VA stands out as a preferred destination for data center operators, largely due to its attractive energy and operational costs. Located in Loudoun County, Ashburn is a part of a high-tech region known as ‘data center alleys’, that offers businesses substantial financial benefits.
Energy costs play a vital role in the operation of data centers. In Ashburn, the cost of electricity is 20% lower than the national average. This is primarily due to the efforts of Dominion Energy, which provides about 1 Gigawatt of reliable, low-cost energy. The attractive energy costs in Ashburn make it an ideal location for data center giants like Amazon Web Services.
In addition to low energy costs, Loudoun County offers various incentives for data centers. The county provides tax exemptions and the Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program, accelerating the development process for data center projects. This, coupled with reasonable land prices and a technically skilled workforce, makes Ashburn highly attractive for data centers.
As such, Ashburn continues to solidify its position as the data center capital of the world.
4. Government Support and Tax Incentives
Several favorable government initiatives and tax incentives significantly contribute to Ashburn’s reputation as the global hub for data centers. The government support is essential in fostering the growth of the data center industry, as it enables operators to leverage the strategic location of Ashburn, coupled with reasonable energy costs.
In a bid to attract more data center operations, Virginia joined forces with Loudoun County to introduce several incentives. One of these is the data center tax exemption, a critical factor that makes Ashburn an attractive location for data center investment. This policy facilitates tax exemptions for qualifying data centers, thus lowering the cost of operations and increasing profitability for businesses.
Loudoun County also began the Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program, which prioritizes data center projects and provides them with a dedicated project manager. This strategy ensures expedited development and helps to maintain Ashburn’s lead in the data center industry.
Additionally, the Data Center Zoning Ordinance passed in 2014 has further spurred the rapid expansion of data center operations in more districts within the county. The consolidation of these efforts continually strengthens Ashburn’s position as the global data center capital.
The Future of Ashburn’s Data Centers
Looking ahead, the future of data centers in Ashburn, VA remains promising with ongoing growth and expansion projected in the industry. As the data center capital of the world, Ashburn is set to maintain its dominance, with 557 MW of data center storage currently under construction or in planning stages. This robust construction activity signifies the steady expansion of Ashburn’s data centers, driven by the expansion of the internet and the increasing demand for data storage and processing.
The presence of major industry players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook further cements the future of Ashburn’s data centers. These tech giants have chosen Ashburn for its strategic location, extensive fiber infrastructure, and supportive government policies, solidifying its position as the world’s data center hub.
With over 60 data centers servicing around 3,000 tech companies, Ashburn’s data center ecosystem is poised for further development. The stable economy of Northern Virginia and the continued support from the Virginia state government provide a conducive environment for the future growth of Ashburn’s data centers, promising a vibrant and dynamic future for the industry.
In conclusion, Ashburn’s strategic location, superior fiber infrastructure, and attractive energy costs make it an ideal hub for data centers.
The significant government backing and tax incentives further enhance its appeal.
The presence of 118 data centers, covering over 10 million square feet of space, reinforces Ashburn’s global stature as a data center capital.
This prominence is forecasted to continue, driving further innovation and growth in the data center industry.