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A Simple Guide To Colocation In Chicago

A Simple Guide To Colocation In Chicago

Colocation is now a popular business solution throughout the world. At a high level, its advantages and considerations are much the same wherever you go. At a deeper level, however, individual areas will have their own individual characteristics. With that in mind, here is an overview of colocation in Chicago.

An overview of Chicago’s business landscape

Chicago’s strategic location at the heart of the Midwest has made it highly attractive to many industries. The city is well-known as a key financial hub. It is also a leader in manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and logistics.

At present, its technology sector is still fairly small but is definitely growing thanks to world-class research institutions, incubators, and a collaborative ecosystem. Chicago’s technology sector is very focused on serving the needs of businesses. For example, many companies are involved in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

Chicago is widely regarded as having one of the most diversified and well-balanced economies of any place in the world, let alone the USA. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it is home to businesses of all sizes from global behemoths to tiny startups and individual contractors.

Benefits and considerations of colocation in Chicago

The main benefits of colocation in Chicago are cost-effectiveness, scalability, and flexibility. The main consideration is resilience. Here is a closer look at each of these points as they apply to colocation in Chicago.


Given that Chicago is a state capital and the third most populous city in the USA, its real estate prices are (currently) surprisingly attractive. That does not, however, mean that Chicago real estate is, objectively, low-cost. Buying into it still requires significant upfront expense, particularly if you want to be in one of the city’s more popular areas. In Chicago, these tend to be the areas near the financial district,

For businesses that need or want to avoid tying up their capital or taking on debt, the remaining options are colocation or the public cloud. The public cloud does offer a lot of benefits, especially scalability. At the same time, it has its limitations. In particular, it is unlikely to allow for a high level of customization and its costs can be difficult to manage.

Using colocation offers businesses a cost-effective route to running their own data center. Not only can this reduce running costs, it can make them much easier to forecast and, hence, manage.

Scalability and flexibility

On the one hand, colocation will never match the public cloud for scalability. The public cloud can be scaled up or down literally at the press of a button. On the other hand, businesses do not necessarily need all of the scalability of the public cloud all of the time.

For many businesses, colocation offers as much scalability as they need for their core operations. If necessary, this can then be supplemented with the public cloud, possibly in a hybrid cloud arrangement.

Colocation does, however, arguably beat the public cloud for flexibility. This is because it allows businesses to customize their IT infrastructure to suit their exact requirements. In particular, it allows businesses to choose their own hardware configurations. This opens up a lot of options that the public cloud is unlikely to be able to support.


On the grand scale, Chicago is fairly safe from human threats. Of course, it has a certain level of crime as all cities do. Looked at on a global scale, however, it’s about as safe as you can reasonably expect a city to be.

Environmentally, Chicago’s climate is, overall, reasonably benign. It does, however, present some challenges. In the context of colocation in Chicago, the city’s bracing winters are usually less of a problem than its springs and summers. During these periods, Chicago often experiences severe thunderstorms. These typically produce heavy rain, large hailstones, and high winds.

Summers in Chicago also tend to be very hot. This means that colocation facilities in the area need to have cooling systems that can cope with very high temperatures.

Factors affecting the cost of colocation in Chicago

Here is a quick overview of the factors affecting the cost of colocation in Chicago.

Location and physical space: Businesses often prioritize colocation facilities with proximity to Chicago’s financial district, ensuring low-latency connections critical for financial transactions and data-intensive operations.

Facility tiers: Higher-tier facilities, offering advanced features, may command higher costs but provide enhanced reliability, aligning with Chicago’s demand for cutting-edge services.

Power requirements and network connectivity: Providers integrating renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power, align with the city’s green initiatives. This commitment to sustainability may influence pricing structures based on local incentives. Additionally, the need for robust network connectivity, crucial in Chicago’s tech-driven industries, contributes to overall colocation expenses.

If you are looking for colocation services in Chicago, DataBank is an excellent choice. DataBank has four state-of-the-art data centers in the Chicago area, which combine to offer 128,060 square feet of raised floor space, and 13.8MW critical IT load. Learn more about DataBank’s Chicago data centers.

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