Why not another mid-west / north central provider ?
Many decent providers in Chicago that can meet your demands and you can be on a node with 100% SSD and enough power.
Check out LiquidWeb as well, they are in MI.
Also do not rely on the ping solely to measure speed, tracert for the number of hops to your host could be better.
You don;t need to live close to the data center if you are about to use Dedicated servers. It makes sense if you colocate equipment and would like to save on remote hands, if the data center charges high fees for management services. as far as for the DB storage, it is better to go for a SAS drives at 15,000 RPM. They are not that expensive and will give you good performance. SSD's would work even better, but the seder edition drives are more expensive than SAS edition. AS far as for the location, choose a web host that has good network and that will pay attention to your project. There are plenty of them around.
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