Companies are quietly moving data centers into cities to reduce latency

In brief: Thoughts of data centers often elicit visions of sprawling server farms situated in rural areas where electricity is more affordable and tax breaks are aplenty. It’s an accurate mental image in many cases but increasingly, companies are electing to move their operations to the hearts of large cities to be closer to the customers they serve.

Our progressively digital lifestyle has only fueled the desire for instant gratification. Streaming providers, app operators and other digital service providers are increasingly aware that consumers’ patience for latency is razor thin. Simply put, if service isn’t snappy enough, customers will take their business elsewhere.

Tech companies on the leading edge are thinking long and hard about how they can offer the same level of service regardless of where a user lives or works, and in many instances the solution is to build nodes in urban areas that seamlessly blend in with the environment as part of a concept known as edge computing.

Companies are quietly moving data centers into cities to reduce latency

MIT Technology Review notes that sending on colocation data centers increased by nearly 12 percent last year. Amazon, a leading cloud provider, recently announced plans to launch “Local Zones” in 32 cities around the globe for customers that demand low latency. At one point, Walmart was considering using some of its retail footprint to build edge computing platforms that could be rented out to third parties.

The publication sees the proliferation of data centers in urban areas as a double-edged sword. On one hand, owners and operators are being mindful to build them discretely so they aren’t eyesores to the local environment.

Conversely, these stealth installations make it easier to forget just how many resources Internet usage costs. Last year, data centers accounted for 1.8 percent of electricity consumed in the US and were responsible for 0.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Image credit: Donny Jiang, Ismail Enes Ayhan

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White Water Rafting or KayakingMount Fuji Overnight Climb ItinerarySip & Gogh Paint Studio: Unleash Your Inner Van Gogh | LakwatseroBatanes ItineraryHow to Get to Quitinday HillsAbout Callao CaveDiscover LakawonBiking to Taal: A Fun Ride to Batangas’ Heritage TownAntique Blooming: The Rafflesia of San RemigioMalasimbo Lights and Dance FestivalBacolod ItineraryPoon HillAttractions in Mirador Heritage and Eco ParkHulhumale Public BeachRomblon Island: Bonbon Beach, Tiamban Beach & MoreAdventure in Sabah: White Water Rafting in Padas River | LakwatseroHow to Get to Hinakpan Mystical HillsWelcome to Lake SebuAbout CasiguranAbout BuscalanHow to Go to Kalanggaman IslandFaro de Cabo Bojeador (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)Backpacking Maldives: Budget Itinerary, Expenses & TipsHow to Get ThereOffbeat Bohol Itinerary: 3D/2N of AdventuresHow to Get to Tawi-TawiAlona BeachPangilatan Falls: The Forgotten Gem of Tapaz, CapizWorld War I: SMS Cormoran II3D/2N Taiwan Itinerary: Taipei – Yehliu – ShiffenLaos for Backpackers: Getting There on a BudgetBasic RequirementsHow to Get to Antong FallsCathedral CaveHow to Go to Gubat, SorsogonAbout SadangaHow to Get to Bugui Point LighthouseHow to Get to Cabra Island LighthouseCebu Itinerary: Three-Day Adventures in the SouthAbout AndaLuna: A Day in the Show Window of Apayao | LakwatseroMargues Blue LagoonFinding Palaui’s Cape Engaño Lighthouse | LakwatseroHow to Get to Mantayupan Falls of Barili, CebuHow to Get to MaligcongLinapacan Islands: Between Paradise | LakwatseroKLIA to KLCCHow to Get to JomaligBanaug ShoalEspadang Bato – Payaran Falls Day Hike Itinerary10 Remarkable Philippine Destinations for Solo TravelMiagao Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in IloiloAbout Carbin ReefAbout Parola IslandCabra WreckageCobra Falls: Ozamiz City’s Best Kept SecretBasco: The Chapel on the Hill of Tukon | LakwatseroBack in Kathmandu’s Lovely Mess | LakwatseroHimalayan Adventure: Kathmandu to Pokhara Overland | LakwatseroItineraryChinatown Vancouver (Stop #23)Situbo Falls: Tampilisan's Awesome SurpriseHow to Get to Inambakan FallsTuasan Falls: Another Camiguin’s Charmer | LakwatseroHow to Get to Lake SebuMarinduque Loop: Biking in the Heart of the Philippines1. 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