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Article updated: 2/7/2014 2:02 PM

Every device you use touches a data center, and more are expected here

Don Goodwin

Don Goodwin

 
ByteGrid recently acquired a data center in Aurora.

ByteGrid recently acquired a data center in Aurora.

 
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ByteGrid Holdings LLC acquired a data center in Aurora. BladeRoom USA is building a new data center in Mount Prospect.

They're among more data centers expected to open this year worldwide to provide more storage and services for companies that help you operate your smartphone, tablet and other device.

"Every single device you touch has to touch a data center somewhere in the world," said Tom Roberts, president of AFCOM and chairman of Data Center World.

Without those data centers, you may not have the ability to text or email like you do now. In addition to ByteGrid and BladeRoom, several other companies are in the data center mix, including AT&T, which has 38 data centers worldwide, including two in the Chicago and suburban area.

"We have seen a huge growth in data center industry and we're not going to see it end any time soon," Roberts said.

It's difficult to know the exact number of data centers because companies that own and operate under tight security them keep them private, Roberts said.

The Cheltenham, England-based BladeRoom has been building data centers for nearly 4 years throughout Europe, Africa and elsewhere. It plans to make Mount Prospect its U.S. headquarters, and it will house the company's 31st data center. The Mount Prospect site, expected to open in early March, will initially employ 12 people and be used as a model for other future U.S. data centers, said Barnaby Smith, managing director of BladeRoom USA.

Like most data center operators, BladeRoom declined to identify its clients, but it expects to be working with banks, manufacturers, wholesalers and government offices, Smith said.

In addition, ByteGrid owns and operates data centers in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Cleveland, Ohio. Its acquisition of one in Aurora is its first in this market, said Don Goodwin, executive vice president of sales and marketing based in McLean, Va.

ByteGrid purchased the data center from CNA Financial Corp, the commercial insurance writer headquartered in Chicago. CNA originally built the facility in 2007 and will continue to occupy about 30 percent of the facility by remaining as its primary tenant under a long-term lease.

ByteGrid is converting the facility into a multi-tenant data center and connecting with telecommunication and fiber carriers to serve business, government and other customers. The site employs about 20 people, Goodwin said.

"We're making some changes to the building and getting it ready to expand," he said.

They aim to attract customers from the Naperville area and those outside the area wishing to have a presence in the Chicago-Naperville region, Goodwin said.

ByteGrid is also targeting other properties to buy, he said.

"Our transaction with CNA is a common entry into this new market," Goodwin said.

Surfing: DeFilippis Financial Group in Wheaton launched its redesigned website at www.defilippisfinancial.com that now allows clients to quickly find essential tax and financial information. In addition, the new site is more interactive and offers the opportunity for clients to make appointments, confirm appointments, sign up for events and access important forms and documents.

• William Mahoney of Syracuse, N.Y., and co-founder of PLOWZ.com, said the online service has enlisted about 70 plow operators to start its service today in the Chicago and suburban area. A downloadable app allows you to summon a PLOWZ snowplow and charge your credit card. Users put in their home address, a description of their driveway and tap to request a snowplow. The closest PLOWZ driver will receive the request and add it to their route to complete. Once the job is finished, the driver will snap a picture of the cleared driveway and upload it for the user to see.

• Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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