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The Cloud is Expanding in DSM USA

March 15, 2018

It is crazy to imagine that just a decade ago, LightEdge was the only company to have a data center in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Fast forward to the present and industry giants like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft have flocked to the exploding tech hub in DSM.

Due to its central U.S. location and untapped land and fiber potential, DSM was a clear choice for LightEdge’s flagship data center.

Why Des Moines?

Since LightEdge’s original 30,000-square-foot facility opened in 2006, DSM has generated a tremendous amount of buzz in the data center and technology space. It’s convenient for local businesses seeking nearby, secure co-location and cloud solutions that want to remove the risk of storing and managing critical equipment in-house. Iowa is also the premier choice for national and global corporations pursuing geo-diverse redundancy for true disaster recovery and business continuity.

As a company that owns and operates each of our facilities, some of the major motivators for building data centers in the Midwest include cheaper power, lower risk of natural disasters and easy access to renewable wind energy.

The Midwest is also a prime destination when factoring in efficient travel for customers and prospects to and from the facility. DSM, in particular, offers extremely convenient access to I-35 and I-80 with the Des Moines International Airport less than 20 minutes away.

Thanks to the booming success of our flagship data center in Altoona, LightEdge recently broke ground and opened an adjacent facility in October of 2017. This new data center spans 48,000 square feet with the option to expand an additional 20,000 square feet within a nine-month time span based on demand.

Local Data Centers

A ground-up build of this scale typically means over a year of construction and electrical work to become fully operational. Prior to a shovel even touching the ground, months and months of team planning go into mapping out efficiency, security and durability. Designing and constructing a Tier III compliant facility like LightEdge’s means substantial manpower and major business generated in the marketplace from local electrical teams to construction crews to government and Chamber engagement. It also means an enormous financial investment in the region.

On average, when LightEdge decides to build a data center facility from the ground up, it’s about a $30 million commitment to that area and their economy. Selecting DSM for our original, and largest, data center campus meant planting deep roots within a community we wanted to remain active participants and contributors of.

Local People

In addition to the teams employed to design and build the facilities, data center providers also require skilled resources to operate and manage them 24/7/365. According to code.org, there are currently around 700,000 open computing jobs in the U.S., but only 42,000 computer science students graduated last year. Despite the large STEM shortage nationwide, we currently employ around 100 employees in Iowa and 130 in total with plans to continue to expand this year. We are passionate about empowering today’s younger generation of leaders to explore careers in IT, and are there to foster their learning and growth in a variety of areas.

We have been actively involved with several high school programs for aspiring professionals, including Waukee APEX, where we have hosted semester-long courses out of our office, led deeply technical data center tours and had our team of experts mentor, present to and collaborate with the driven youth. We have also worked closely with local Iowa universities to continue to cultivate that spark for technology into fast-paced careers in the field. Schools like Des Moines Area Community College, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University are great sources of fresh talent for local technology companies to recruit and keep within the state.

Local Support

For LightEdge, a big part of hiring the best and brightest around also means employing a team of charitable, community-centric individuals. We are active members of about a dozen organizations across Iowa from a corporate standpoint, but our motivated team members are involved with even more. Many hold board and executive positions for industry and professional development organizations, while others volunteer at local charities and nonprofits.

It’s important to us to be able to give back to the community through donation of our time, our resources and our empowerment of the technology landscape. We are proud to serve local Iowa businesses with our co-location, enterprise cloud, business resilience and technology consulting solutions. 70 percent of our customers are native Iowa companies like ourselves. Seeing the evolution of the technology scene throughout the state of Iowa and the innovation coming out of our workforce has been incredible to watch. We are so thankful for all that the DSM community has provided for us, and cannot wait to see what the future holds.

Learn more on why the region’s strategic location, low power costs and increasing investment in renewable energy make DSM a hub for data center sites.

Jim Masterson

Jim Masterson assumed the helm as CEO for LightEdge Solutions in 2004. He successfully re-capitalized the Midwest company and executed on a new vision and course, including the launch of their second Tier III data center in Greater Des Moines (DSM).