Iron Mountain, Prince William County

Iron Mountain, Prince William County

The World's Largest Data Center Market

Data centers operating in Virginia benefit from densely packed fiber backbones and a massive network of data centers that currently move an estimated 70% of the world’s internet traffic daily, as well as an advantageous cost environment centered on a competitive tax rate, affordable and abundant electricity (with rapidly expanding renewable power options), and competitive construction costs.

Virginia offers an exemption from retail sales and use tax for qualifying computer equipment purchased by data centers that meet statutory investment and employment requirements. Virginia was the first state to allow the tenants of colocation data centers to receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption. In addition, local business property tax rates on computer and related equipment for data centers have been reduced by a number of localities.

Data Centers in Virginia

Data Centers in VA
MAREA SubSea Cables Map

Virginia is Home to the First Subsea Cable Connections in the Mid-Atlantic

Virginia Beach is the landing point for four new transoceanic fiber cable connection points.

  • MAREA, owned by Microsoft and Facebook and operated by Telxius, brought an ultra-high-speed ​200 terabit fiber optic cable from Bilbao, Spain, to Virginia Beach in 2018.
  • BRUSA, owned and operated by Telxius​, brought the second cable from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Virginia Beach in the 2018. BRUSA is the highest capacity subsea cable connecting the Americas, with ultrafast transmission capacity reaching up to 138 Tbps.
  • SAEx will be the only system connecting South Africa directly to the U.S.
  • Dunant, owned and operated by Google, connects the French Atlantic Coast to Virginia Beach and is the first private trans-Atlantic cable built by a non-telecom company.
Q4 VER Cover Standard

Virginia Economic Review

The Fourth Quarter 2019 issue of Virginia Economic Review explored the world of Big Data, the explosion of cloud computing and data center investment, and how data is remaking industries and altering the geography of economic opportunity. Article highlights include:

  • What’s Driving the Data Boom?
  • How Virginia Became the Data Center Capital of the World
  • Down to a [Data] Science
  • Southern Virginia Rewrites Its Economic Story
Dominion Offshore Wind Pilot Project

Dominion Offshore Wind Pilot Project

Virginia is Rapidly Becoming a Leader in Renewable Power

Access to renewable energy resources is increasing, including Dominion’s solar capacity growing over 630% since 2015 with nearly 895 megawatts (MW) in operation or under development.

Dominion Energy is developing the largest offshore wind farm on the East Coast off the coast of Virginia, with the capability to generate 2,600 megawatts – enough energy to power almost 700,000 homes.

With decades of hands-on extensive experience supporting large data centers, Virginia’s utility partners have also  collaborated to develop a streamlined project delivery system to get new facilities up and running faster and with fewer errors than ever before, supporting facilities with expert support around the clock once a facility is online.

As demand for cloud and online services continues to grow, Microsoft is investing in Virginia as a strategic location to help us deliver for our customers. Mecklenburg County has been a good home for Microsoft, and we’re committed to supporting the community through local partnerships to help deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits such as expanding access to high-speed broadband services and supporting skills training for positions in the information technology industry.

Noelle Walsh Corporate Vice President, Cloud Operations + Innovation, Microsoft Corp.
SimVentions, Fredericksburg

SimVentions, Fredericksburg

America's Top State for Talent

With the highest concentration of tech talent in the U.S., as well as the third largest tech industry workforce in the U.S. (Emsi, 2020.4), Virginia boasts one of the largest data center workforces in the nation. More than 13,500 Virginians work in the data processing and hosting industry. Virginia’s tech workforce also shows a particular strength in the concentration of network and computer systems administrators.

Investing in Tomorrow's Talent, Today

A number of workforce development programs in Virginia prepare a pipeline of talent for the data center industry.

Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP)

The Tech Talent Investment Program is a $1.1 billion investment in computer science education that will transform Virginia’s tech talent pipeline for the next two decades.

The addition of more than 32,000 graduates in computer science and related fields over the next two decades (in excess of current levels) will ensure a steady stream of qualified Virginians are prepared to fill the jobs of the future.

Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science

Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science systems and networking track trains students to understand the interaction of software and hardware in computer systems and networks. Programs include the Distributed Systems and Storage Laboratory, where students look at the design, development, and evaluation of next-generation storage and file systems, and the Systems, Networking, and Renaissance Grokking (SyNerGy) Lab in which students conduct basic and applied research in parallel and distributed computing to provide scientists and engineers with scalable and efficient computational tools.

Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

At Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering faculty and students delve into all major areas of electrical and computer engineering. The main campus is in Blacksburg, and the department has additional research and teaching facilities in Arlington, Falls Church, and Hampton.

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center IT Academy (ITA)

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center IT Academy (ITA) offers short-term training to prepare individuals with the skills and certifications required for employment in the information technology industry. ITA learning spaces include a data center lab housing five rows with 200+ servers, routers, and switches; a hardware repair center with a full complement of needed IT tools and equipment; and a trainee classroom computer lab.

Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Committee

The Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Committee promotes the interests of the region's growing data center, cloud, and critical infrastructure community in an effort to contribute to the long-term growth and prosperity of the industry. Efforts include:

  • Providing educational and training programming for its members and forums for thought leadership and the sharing of best practices.
  • Leading efforts to identify the needs of the future workforce and advocate for industry-specific education programming.
  • Standing up, in conjunction with Northern Virginia Community College, a two-year program called Engineering Technology: Datacenter Operations Technician, to provide student training in a cross-section of data center operations.

Community College Programs in Network Administration

Many of Virginia’s 23 community colleges offer programs of study in network administration, including:

  • Tidewater Community College - Career Studies Certificate in network administration
  • Northern Virginia Community College - Network Engineering (Specialist) Career Studies certificate
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College - Computer and Network Support Technologies Career Studies certificate 
  • Virginia Highlands Community College – Associate's degree in information technology, specialization in networking

 

Tech Talent Investment Program

There will be 32,000 additional graduates in excess of current levels in Computer Science and related fields over the next 20 years due to Virginia’s new education investments in tech talent.

America's Top State for Business

Virginia is consistently ranked as a top location for business, and boasts a stable pro-business climate.

Virginia offers an exemption from retail sales and use tax for qualifying computer equipment purchased by data centers that meet statutory investment and employment requirements. Virginia was the first state to allow the tenants of colocation data centers to receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption. In addition, local business property tax rates on computer and related equipment for data centers have been reduced by a number of localities.

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