Meanwhile, there is no shortage of data-center investments streaming from the massive tech giants. Recently, Microsoft launched a $350-million investment to expand its Boydton, Va., facility, according to media reports. Microsoft declined to comment.

For the giants, keeping up with Internet traffic is critical, especially as traffic has soared exponentially (see table). "The growth of the internet and ... the amount of traffic we are driving" are key to the upsurge in data centers, Williams says.

"That traffic has a physical manifestation. It has to be delivered over fiber optics. On either end of the fiber, there needs to be servers to send and receive the information and switches to direct the bits from one end to the other," Williams says. "As traffic grows, so does demand for those pieces of equipment. It's a huge driver and one of the things that the big tech firms are doing when they expand their capabilities."