Aligned breaks ground on 100 MW Chicago data centre campus
US-based digital infrastructure company Aligned has . The company already operates data centre sites in Salt Lake City, Utah; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and the US’ data centre capital of Ashburn, Virginia.
Now, Aligned is expanding aggressively into the Midwest with its new campus located in Chicago, Illinois. , noted in a statement to the press that, “Whether by rail, road, air, or network packet, Chicago has long served as a major infrastructure hub for the nation’s commerce and now, a rapidly transforming digital economy.”
Chicago has a well-established history with the data centre industry, although construction has shifted away from America’s “second city” in the past decade. Back in 2010, Chicago even held claim to being the home of the US’ largest data centre with the 350 E. Cermak building belonging to Digital Realty - a 1.1mn square foot data centre housed in the building .
While the E. Cermak carrier hotel has long since lost its title to sprawling hyperscale campuses - with the title of America’s largest data centre site passing to Switch’s mega-scale campus in Reno, Nevada - the announcement from Aligned reconfirms the fact that Chicago still has a role to play in the nation’s digital infrastructure.
Welcome to ORD-1
Located at 505 Northwest Avenue in Northlake, IL, Aligned’s Chicago campus is a sprawling 18.5-acre property. The company broke ground on the site’s first data centre, ORD-1 this Wednesday.
ORD-1 is a 220,000 square foot facility that, when it spins up (sometime - Aligned haven’t released any details on when the site will become operational) will deliver 48 MW of hyperscale, carrier-neutral capacity, with the potential to scale ORD-1 up to more than 60 MW.
hasn’t made any announcements about other facilities planned for the campus, but its press office has revealed that the Chicago campus has the potential to scale to more than 100 MW of capacity over the next few years if there is strong enough demand from the market.
He added: “The city’s central location, attractive data center sales tax incentives, long-haul connectivity and access to ample renewable energy options make it an ideal site for hyperscalers, cloud companies, and multinational enterprises to deploy their mission-critical infrastructure.”
The Mayor of Northlake, Chicago, Jeffrey Sherwin, also hailed the new campus with open arms, saying that, “The City of Northlake welcomes Aligned. Northlake is well positioned in the Chicago market being centrally located and having great infrastructure to support the new facility.”
As a result of the attractive data centre tax incentives that Schaap mentioned above, Sherwin added that, “This will be Northlake’s third data center development. We work closely with developers to make their projects a reality. Their success is our success.”
Equinix: Digital leaders expect changes to working patterns
A global report released by Equinix has revealed that digital leaders expect long-term changes to the way people work.
As part of the report, the data infrastructure company surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers from several different businesses spanning 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. The study also highlighted the biggest technology trends affecting global businesses and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital infrastructure plans.
Talking about companies’ expansion strategies, Claire Macland, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Equinix, said: “Many companies are now investing more in their digital infrastructure to enable them to embrace a hybrid working model and thrive in the new world of work we all find ourselves in.
“Despite headwinds in many sectors, many organizations are continuing to expand physically and virtually into new markets and regions around the world”, she said.
The report drew the following conclusions:
- 64% of the 2,600 digital leaders surveyed believed there will be “long-term changes to both how and where people will work in the future.
- 57% of global companies intend to expand into new regions despite the effects of the pandemic
- 51% of businesses worldwide say they have rearchitected their IT infrastructure so that it can meet the demands of remote and hybrid working. Digital transformation has also been accelerated due to an increase in businesses’ technology budgets.
How might digital transformation be affected post-pandemic?
COVID-19 has demanded that companies make several changes to the way that they operate, including digital transformation. According to the study, 47% of those surveyed reported that they have accelerated their digital transformation plans because of the Coronavirus pandemic. A further 42% of organisations said their budgets have increased to keep up with the growth of digital transformation.
Another change in adapting to the pandemic was to businesses’ IT strategies with six in 10 companies saying that it has been revised in response to the situation. 58% said they are looking to invest in technology to “improve agility’ post-COVID.
When asked about their priorities for their digital strategy, 80% of respondents said that digitising their infrastructure was of utmost importance, while 57% viewed interconnection as a ‘key facilitator’ of digital transformation.
"This increasing focus on digitization and expansion is one of the reasons why Equinix has continued to invest in its own growth. We completed 16 new expansions in 2020—our most active build year ever—and expect to continue to evolve Platform Equinix to support our customers as they continue on their digital transformation journey”, said Claire Macland.
Potential concerns disperse over expansion plans being halted by COVID-19
The study has also revealed that organisations’ previous concerns that the pandemic will negatively affect their business expansion plans have been lessened.
57% of businesses have said that they “still have plans” to expand into new regions and of that percentage, nearly two-thirds (63%) plan to do so virtually instead of investing in physical IT infrastructure.
The full Equinix report can be found here.