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Posted on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Data center CEO sees increase in business after Sandy, says Midwest is the place to be

By Ben Freed

Local data center Online Tech CEO Yan Ness told news radio WWJ’s technology editor Matt Roush that he's seen an increase in business since Hurricane Sandy. The spike comes after some data servers in the northeast were destroyed during the storm's flooding of the region.


Yan Ness stands in one of Online Tech's data centers

Ness said that the flooding was particularly devastating for computer servers, often housed in the basements of buildings in crowded urban areas. The flooding levels in low-lying areas caused damages to many computer systems that did not have back-ups in a second location.

Online Tech has two data centers in Michigan, one of which is located at Avis Farms in Pittsfield Township. The company recently attracted a $20 million investment that will allow them to build four more centers in the Midwest during the next two years.

Ness said his company has seen an uptick in calls and requests for consultations on data backup following the storm. He said the upper Midwest was a particularly safe place to put data centers due to its low probability of natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding.

Click here to listen to the full interview here.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Michael Pomorski

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Interestingly enough I've heard reports from Groton, CT that they've been out of power since Monday. I imagine Pfizer would have generators and such but there's a bit of irony there in this situation. The North Campus Research Center (the ex-Pfizer property) is humming along just fine this week of course. You have to wonder why there aren't more data centers and the like here in Michigan. As the article points out we don't have nearly the risk of many types of natural disasters that other states have, we're centrally located and it's a nice place to live (in my highly biased opinion!) Sure, some people don't like the cold, I get that (well, I don't "get" that, I don't mind the cold at all and in fact prefer it, but I understand some do not) but data centers don't mind the cold. In fact the worry with them is too much heat! One wonders if we were to become a Right-to-Work state if that would lead to more of these kinds of businesses popping up...

Linda Peck

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

Michigan is a good place to live, too, not only do business. This article brings to mind the quality of life we have here in Ann Arbor, as well as the relative safety from natural disasters. It will bring more people here, even though the Midwest has seemed plain jane to many people who live on the coasts.

Ron Granger

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

When a disaster gets people to think about their own disaster prepardness - whether system backups, or personal preparedness - then that is a good thing.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

It's really sad to see articles about how business is picking up because of Sandy. People died and people will be dealing with this for years. I don't want to hear about people profiting off of it.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

It might be sad to think of it this way. But it is also sad to hear stories about people being killed for any reason. Should they just not report any of it? I found this story relevant and helpful as I am attempting to build a business case for locating a data center and call center in Michigan. I have an interest in this story just as I have an interest in all of the other Sandy stories for other reasons (friends and co-workers affected).

Ron Granger

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

You must be thinking of that newspaper that only prints good news, and ignores everything else. Or did that fold? Denying it doesn't keep events from happening.