by Laurianne McLaughlin

Iowa: The Cloud Computing State

Opinion
Aug 12, 20083 mins
Data Center

Ever wonder where “the cloud” in cloud computing really is? Increasingly, the answer will be Iowa, according to an interesting blog post by Michael Keen at brianmadden.com (a site that I like for its straight talk on Citrix, Xen and virtualization issues from guys who actually implement the technology.)

Given the fact that enterprises and technology vendors will only continue to produce bigger stacks of data and want more computing horsepower to analyze it all, and need to control their data center costs, there’s little question that cloud computing is a trend that will be for real. Granted, it’s early yet, and CIOs need more reassurance on the security, compliance and availability questions. But cloud’s time will come.

We all know Google wants a big slice of that cloud pie. Maybe you’ve read about Google’s secrecy-cloaked data center in The Dalles, Orgeon that’s a big part of its cloud plans. But did you know that Google is also building a large data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa? And that rival Microsoft is building one in the Des Moines area?

Iowa’s got plenty of land, including room for huge wind farms for power generation, and a state government that’s rolling out some tax breaks to lure the Google and Microsoft camps, Keen says.

Keen also cites a consulting study (by The Boyd Company) that ranked U.S. cities for data center operating costs, and guess where three of the ten most affordable choices were?  Iowa.

Personally, I think this is a welcome development on several fronts. First, enterprise IT needs to feel confident about these massive data centers if the cloud is going to fuel mission-critical business apps and store crucial data. Say what you want, Californians, about what some narrow-minded people call “flyover country,” but few people inspire more confidence or work harder than Midwesterners.

Sure, there will be a global network of cloud computing data centers, but I’m glad to see a place like Iowa getting in on this opportunity.

It’s got to be good news for the communities in this area, an influx of technology jobs could be a welcome economic stimulus in midwest U.S. cities traditionally dependent on agriculture and manufacturing.

A new generation of workers in Iowa will be wind farmers and data caretakers. I like it.

Where else will the clouds live? Here’s more from Businessweek.com on Boyd’s research on the best places for data centers.