We’re now to the final part of my three part series about “Why Chicago is Perfect for Data Centers.” Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series so far, but if you’ve missed the previous two articles part 1 was Location, Location, Location, and Part 2 was It's the Infrastructure, Stupid. I’m finishing this series on the cornerstone for any business, the people. Chicago is the third largest metropolitan area in the US with nearly 10 million residents, which is a large talent pool and a lot of potential customers. Not only that, but as Frank Sinatra said, "My kind of people, too. People who smile at you," making Chicago his kind of town.
One of the keys to a strong business is an educated workforce, and if you’re looking for an educated workforce, Chicago has two very highly rated school of it’s own with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University (my alma mater, so I'm a bit partial). Outside of Cambridge/Boston, Chicago is the only city with two universities in the top 12 of the 2013 US News and World Reports college rankings. There are also numerous other schools from which to draw top, young talent such as the Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University and many others such as the City Colleges of Chicago system that educates 120,000 local residents annually. Many of these universities are also great for keeping your workforce educated with various continuing studies programs.
Universities and colleges can provide a good base, but to develop further and provide a complete talent and customer base, you also need a strong corporate and business base. Chicago is home to some of the world’s largest corporations such as Boeing, Motorola, United Continental, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Sears, Abbott Labs, Aon, Exelon, Sara Lee/Hillshire Brands, Navistar, Walgreen’s, Discover Financial and many, many more. Many of these companies are able to draw top talent into the area and can do a lot of work towards developing and training talent. These companies also serve as a great customer base and help bring capital into other Chicago-area businesses. One example is the funding they provide to the growing Chicago tech scene through Built in Chicago, 1871, TechNexus, Catapult, and other similar programs. Those programs have done a superb job in fostering innovation and pushing the entire Chicago tech scene forward.
Finally, I might be a bit biased here, but I feel that Chicago is just a great place to be with great people. People in Chicago are generally friendly, but with a strong work ethic; it is a true Midwestern city. it is a world-class city with numerous museums, theaters, professional sports teams, and all sorts of other live entertainment. There is also some amazing food, not just hot dogs and pizza. It is a great place to live, attracting the best and brightest from around the Midwest and around the world. Even with all of these things going for it, Chicago has a lower cost of living than the other major metropolitan areas in the US (LA and NY) and just slightly higher than “Tier 2” cities such as Denver, Miami, and Minneapolis.
Hopefully I’ve now convinced you that Chicago is a great place for data centers because of it’s location, infrastructure, and people. These are many of the reasons why Steadfast has made Chicago our home for the past decade. Being in this city has allowed us to prosper and we wouldn’t be where we are without the great resources this city has provided us. We’re huge fans of this city and hope you will be as well.
Join us here in Chicago! We'd be happy to sell you data center colocation, dedicated servers, or cloud hosting services out of our Chicago data centers! Otherwise, if you just happen to be in town, contact us to schedule a tour and we'd be happy to show you around.