Virtual hosting specialist Rackforce is teaming with IBM to build a $100 million "GigaCentre" in its home base of Kelowna, British Columbia. The 85,000 square foot data center will run on hydro power from the Columbia River, as do major data center operated by Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) in Washington state and Google (GOOG) further south in Oregon.
The new facility will be able to accommodate power loads of up to 700 watts per square foot, according to CIO, which describes Kelowna as "the best place to build a data center in North America." Kelowna is a city of 160,000 located 240 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, with a local college (the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus) and an international airport. The area is not prone to earthquakes or tornadoes.
Rackforce has three data centers in Kelowna at present, and has seen strong growth with its focus on virtualized hosting services. Rackforce offers virtual private servers (VPS) as well as Dynamic Dedicated Servers, a proprietary offering based on Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 R2 technology. Microsoft features Rackforce in a case study on its web site.
Rackforce also works closely with IBM, and has been a major user of IBM System x servers, which have helped the company increase its computing power while using 30 percent less energy. In September 2007 Rackforce introduced an enterprise grade backup service for its hosted server customers by utilizing IBM Tivoli Storage Manager.