AT&T Opens Centers in Chicago, Shanghai

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AT&T has opened new data centers in Oak Brook, Ill. (Chicago market) and Shanghai, China, bringing its global Internet data center footprint to 1.8 million square feet. AT&T has been aggressively expanding its network this year and now operates 32 Internet data centers, including 17 in the U.S., six in Europe and nine in the Asia/Pacific region.

The new Oak Brook facility expands AT&T’s presence in the Chicago market, where it already has a data center in nearby Lisle, Ill. The Oak Brook center is near an AT&T central switching office, providing customers with connectivity to the AT&T network backbone. The company says the facility has a Tier IV site infrastructure rating from the Uptime Institute, its highest classification among data centers for reliability, and features multiple active power and cooling distribution paths. The center in Oak Brook is 12,000 square feet and already has signed up two clients, an AT&T spokesman told Crain’s Chicago Business.

The opening of AT&T’s caps a huge year for the Chicago data center market. The list of companies announcing construction or expansion projects in 2006 includes Equinix, CenterPoint Properties, Digital Realty Trust, Internap, IDC Global Networks and Hostway.


The new Shanghai facility reflects the speed of the company’s expansion in the Asia/Pacific region. The facility is located in the city’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, which is also the site of AT&T’s first Shanghai data center, which opened this summer. AT&T will operate the facilities through a $25 million joint venture with Shanghai Telecom. Like other foreign telecommunications giants, AT&T is not allowed to tap into domestic telephony services such as long-distance calls.

AT&T also added more space earlier this year to its Internet data center in Hong Kong. Combined, the Shanghai and Hong Kong centers have nearly doubled AT&T’s Web hosting footprint in the Asia/Pacific region since the beginning of 2006.

The addition of the new data centers is the latest move by AT&T to participate in the booming global hosting business. In China, the total enterprise managed service market is expected to top $3.7 billion (U.S) in 2006, according to the research firm IDC, which forecasts that the U.S. market in 2006 will reach $8.0 billion.2

The addition of the Oak Brook data center caps a year that saw AT&T grow its data center footprint in the U.S. with expansions of facilities in Lithia Springs, Georgia, and Mesa, Arizona. Both centers added 25 percent more space to handle increasing customer demand for hosting services, and AT&T plans more data center expansions elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world in 2007.

“We continue to invest in growing our business to support customers and to meet the red-hot demand of businesses large and small for hosting services,” said Steve Caniano, vice president, AT&T. “The additions of our second facility in China and our new center near Chicago are further proof that businesses around the globe are turning to AT&T to help them manage their IT environment so they can focus on running their business.”

In May AT&T announced a hosting services practice focusing on online gaming. The practice has a dedicated team of AT&T Labs and operations engineers working with hosting sales specialists who are devoted specifically to its online gaming customers. The teams use the resources of AT&T’s global data centers to provide infrastructure that enable online gaming companies to deliver their game content efficiently through AT&T’s Global IP backbone.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.