In the city of Birmingham, Alabama, the god of metalworking, Vulcan, famously keeps watch. Vulcan stands as the world’s largest cast iron statue (reflecting the location’s renowned history as an iron and steel producer), and his effigy is dwarfed only by the Statue of Liberty. As of late, however, new giants have been gaining traction in Birmingham — tech giants, that is. The city has recently found itself in the midst of an impressive business and technology boom, and as a result has earned a reputation for being the “Southern Silicon Valley.”
Birmingham’s business and technological renaissance has spurred success stories like that of Shipt, an internet-based grocery delivery service that was acquired by Target for $550 million in 2018, and Evonik, a company specializing in drug delivery technologies.
This growing success can be attributed to the city’s focus on being an incubator for new and on-the-rise startups. Birmingham’s empowerment of its growing startup and tech scene is epitomized at the Innovation Depot, a 140,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown, home to the largest tech startup program in the Southeastern U.S. Over 60 companies from across healthcare, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals, the food industry, manufacturing and more can be found here, leveraging the shared resources, community and programs to accelerate their growth and performance. The local innovation ecosystem is also bolstered by its proximity to assets like the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which boasted $538 million in research expenditures in 2017, and Southern Research, a nonprofit promoting advances in pharmaceuticals, engineering and energy.
Although, even as Birmingham climbed the ranks and situated itself among other renowned tech hubs, a gap in its capabilities still existed. The area lacked a modern facility to house local businesses’ IT infrastructure. Jeff Uphues, the CEO of DC BLOX (a multi-tenant data center provider), noted that Birmingham was the largest city in America without a purpose-built, high-security multi-tenant data center.
Luckily, DC BLOX is dedicated to delivering the critical infrastructure and connectivity that is essential to power today’s digital business, and has stepped in to fill in the gaps. The company is currently building Tier 3 facilities across the Southeast to meet the needs of emerging and underserved markets like Birmingham, delivering colocation space and rich connectivity to carriers, Internet Exchanges and cloud providers. In fact, DC BLOX’s flagship Birmingham data center location, called one of the biggest economic development announcements for the locale in recent memory, has just recently opened its initial phase, offering 31,000 square feet of data hall and office space. The 27-acre location off Sixth Street South, on the former Trinity Steel site, is set to be a technology and innovation campus for the area. In addition to its thriving technology scene and gap in fulfilled business requirements, the company sought out Birmingham due to the strong local economy, geographic location, fiber optic network connectivity and proximity to UAB.
When asked about the deployment, the company’s CEO, Jeff Uphues, noted, “We are thrilled to be joining the Birmingham community. The State of Alabama and the City of Birmingham care deeply about the prosperity of their people and are working to bring in companies like ours to invest in their communities and bring jobs to the region. They understand that a data center is core infrastructure that attracts other technology-dependent companies, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
Meanwhile, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, stated, “The significant investment being made by DC BLOX to open this data center in Birmingham will not only create high-paying jobs, but it will also bring an exciting new chapter to a neighborhood in the city with a long industrial history.” She adds, “We’re committed to positioning Alabama for a technology-focused future, and we look forward to working with the company to accelerate that process.”
Much has changed since the time when Birmingham made a name for itself as a powerhouse of steel and iron production, yet the city still maintains its archetypal enterprising spirit. Technological prowess now defines the locale as the epicenter of exciting and innovative developments, and, when empowered with critical infrastructure, Birmingham is sure to continue to attract the nation’s great minds and businesses as its eminence grows.
DC BLOX is a multi-tenant data center provider delivering the infrastructure and connectivity essential to power today’s digital business. DC BLOX’s software-defined network services enable access to a wealth of providers, partners and platforms to businesses across the Southeast. DC BLOX’s connected data centers are in Atlanta, GA; Huntsville, AL; Chattanooga, TN; and Birmingham, AL. For more information, please visit www.dcblox.com, call +1. 877.590.1684, and connect with DC BLOX on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.