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How Digital Businesses in Northern Virginia Can Overcome the Effects of Data Gravity

Matthew Scholtes, Senior Asset Manager
October 19, 2021

Did you know that the Northern Virginia metropolitan area is one of the top U.S. metros experiencing digital transformation? The area has seen significant growth in technology that is further boosted by major expansions and investments in recent years. The increase in data growth and global data exchange has also created the need to transform IT infrastructure to meet the digital economy's demands.

Northern Virginia’s large cluster of data centers and over 700 data processing, hosting, and related establishments in the area have some calling it the Silicon Valley of the East. Its status as a booming digital hub inspired Amazon to locate a second headquarters in the area.

Amazon will now join other notable companies that have hubs in Northern Virginia, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Oracle and In over 12 years, starting in 2018, they plan to invest approximately $2.5 billion in a location that will comprise 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space. This should to lead to rapid job growth and economic expansion in the metro—much of which will be tied to digital transformation of Internet of Things (IoT), software developments, cloud technologies, and other technologies.

Government agencies are the leading industry segment in Northern Virginia, but several other industries have a significant presence in the area. On the technology front, you will find numerous cybersecurity, software and data center companies.

Other industries with a substantial presence in Northern Virginia include life sciences, manufacturing companies, and supply chain logistics. Many of these sectors require significant data center interconnection and cloud connectivity.

Additionally, Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth announced the construction of an Innovation Campus near the Amazon campus. Virginia Tech attracts tech talent that benefits all companies and offers masters- and doctoral-level programs focused on technology-related fields.

Northern Virginia digital ecosystem and the challenges of Data Gravity

The acceleration of digital transformation in the Northern Virginia area comes with a heightened urgency to address the intensifying presence of current trends found in the digital economy, including:

The explosion of data contributes to a current megatrend called Data Gravity. It describes the process in which data accumulation attracts additional services and applications to the data in the way gravity attracts objects around a planet. As the amount of data expands, it becomes harder to move between data centers, cloud deployments, networks, and content providers.

This is not a digital trend unique to Northern Virginia, as it is found in key metros worldwide, and it's becoming a more significant challenge as the amount of data created, exchanged and stored continues to grow.

At the core of the Data Gravity challenge is traditional architectures attempting to manage the increasing number of applications, interactions and systems created in the area. Businesses of all sizes have to evolve their infrastructures to support the amount of data generated in new digital ecosystems.

These architectures now need to bring data, users, applications and networks to the data while operating in a consistent, ubiquitous and on-demand way. Creating a data-centric architecture enables real-time intelligence that optimizes data exchange between customers, partners and employees across all channels. It also addresses the workflow, security and cost concerns generated by the Data Gravity megatrend.

Accessing a data-centric architecture in Northern Virginia

To measure the intensity of Data Gravity based on data creation, aggregation, and private exchange of data, Digital Reality developed the Data Gravity Index™ 2.0. According to this comprehensive resource, Data Gravity intensity in the Northern Virginia metro area is expected to grow at a CAGR of 132% through 2024.

Our presence in Northern Virginia allows us to provide businesses with PlatformDIGITAL® - a Pervasive Data Center Architecture within multi-tenant data centers to address Data Gravity in Northern Virginia and beyond.

By overcoming the barriers of Data Gravity, companies can:

  • Create new business opportunities
  • Reduce risks through secure data exchanges
  • Reduce costs with a reduction in bandwidth and duplicated infrastructure
  • Grow revenue through unlimited performance and analytics
  • Address challenges of deployments
  • Overcome ever-changing global enterprise demands of data, control and networking

In total, Digital Reality's Northern Virginia campus consists of 31 data centers and colocation.

The PlatformDIGITAL ecosystem in the Northern Virginia metro campus offers:

  • Access to the 150-plus network, cloud, IT, financial and content partners, and enterprise customers
  • Access to internet connectivity, including dedicated internet access and internet exchange
  • Access to a purpose-based data center and colocation enabling customers to rapidly deploy with scalable and flexible design options

At a high level, PlatformDIGITAL's robust, diversified and neutral connectivity gives businesses substantial scalability. This includes access to:

  • Secure and resilient digital ecosystems and connectivity gateways
  • Accelerated digital transformation initiatives that lower capital and operational costs while providing robust security
More information on PlatformDIGITAL in Northern Virginia

For more details on Digital Realty's Northern Virginia metro connective campus, download a copy of our Metro Brief or schedule a tour. Alternatively, you can email us for more information.

Learn more about data gravity and PlatformDIGITAL by watching a short video overview.