Yahoo Steps Up Its Data Center Investment

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Yahoo (YHOO) is continuing to expand its data center network, investing in infrastructure even as the company reportedly continues to talk with Microsoft about resurrecting the deal between the two tech titans. The acceleration of Yahoo’s data center build-out suggests the company is determined not to let the discussions about its future cause it to fall behind Microsoft and Google in the Internet infrastructure arms race.

Last week Yahoo signed a lease for a major new data center in Santa Clara, Calif. Data center developer Digital Realty Trust (DLR) will build the new facility for Yahoo under its Turn-Key Datacenter program, in which space is finished by Digital Realty and delivered “move-in ready.” The program allows companies to deploy data center infrastructure more quickly than if they built new facilities themselves.

Yahoo has also accelerated the deployment of its data center infrastructure in Ashburn, Virginia, where the company is leasing space in a large facility that was recently completed by Dupont Fabros Technology (DFT). Yahoo is leasing about two-thirds of the 170,000 square foot second phase of the ACC4 data center in Ashburn, where Facebook and MySpace are also tenants.


Yahoo initially was scheduled to occupy some of its space in January 2009, but has pushed up its timetable and will now begin using the space in October. The space is an expansion of Yahoo’s data center infrastructure in Ashburn, where it leases space in other DuPont Fabros facilities. The accelerated timetable was discussed briefly by Dupont Fabros executives during the company’s recent earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

Yahoo is also continuing to pursue plans to build a new data center in Switzerland. The company has purchased land for a European data center in Avenches, Switzerland, a town about 50 miles north of Lausanne.

Building a data center from the ground up typically takes much longer than arranging leases from “wholesale” providers of space, such as Digital Realty and Dupont Fabros. Last year Yahoo noted that the construction its new data center in Quincy, Washington involved 330,000 staff hours. That works out to about 8,250 40-hour work weeks. If you had 100 people working full-time on the project, that would equate to a completion time of 82.5 weeks – about 20 months, give or take a few days.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large 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.