The Effect of Google Data Centers on City Competitiveness

The Effect of Google Data Centers on City Competitiveness

Jacqueline Bueno Sousa (Florida International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-174-0.ch012
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The decision by Google several years ago to begin building major data center campuses prompted economic-development officials nationwide to vie to have their communities chosen as a Google Data Center site. They hoped the facilities would bring hundreds of jobs, lure other technology companies and help create technology hubs in their areas. However, this study of three of the communities where Google built major data centers -- Goose Creek, South Carolina; Lenoir, North Carolina; and Council Bluffs, Iowa—shows that the centers haven’t always lived up to expectations. The author interviews economic development officials in each of the three communities.
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The Data Center

Think of the early years of computing and many people imagine large, cable-filled rooms full of complex machinery and devices – all designed to help computers do their jobs properly. Data centers are the modern-day equivalent of those rooms. During the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, large numbers of businesses began relying on Internet connectivity, which prompted the need for large data facilities. The larger businesses could afford to develop their own Internet data centers, which required specialized staffs, large amounts of space and sophisticated equipment. However, smaller businesses could not afford the expense of having their own data centers. As a result, private data centers were created to meet the needs of smaller businesses. Today large data centers may exist as a private enterprise that provides access to smaller businesses or they may exist as the property of a large organization, for the purpose of fulfilling the technological needs of that organization.

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