Google will delay construction of its data center in Pryor, Oklahoma, the company confirmed today. The $600 million facility was scheduled to be completed in early 2009, but instead will go online sometime in 2010.
The administrator of the Mid-American Industrial Park in Pryor, where Google has purchased 800 acres of land, told the Tulsa World the slowing economy was a factor in Google's decision to push back its construction timetable. But the company said it was staggering the deployment of new data center space after bringing several projects online in recent months.
"Google's data centers are crucial to providing fast, reliable services for our users and we've invested heavily in capacity to ensure we can meet existing as well as future demand," a Google spokesperson said. "This means there is no need to make all our data centers operational from day one. We anticipate that the Pryor Creek facility will come into use within the next 12 to 18 months. Google remains committed to and excited about operating this facility in Mayes County."
Google announced the Oklahoma data center project in May, 2007, when it purchased 800 acres of land in Pryor for a massive facility that would employ 100 workers with an average salary of $48,000. The Pryor project was the third of four data center construction projects Google announced in the first half of 2007. The search company has completed the first data center in its project in Lenoir, North Carolina and is preparing to begin production in its facility in Goose Creek, South Carolina.
Google said the planned facility in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was announced a month after the Oklahoma project, remains on schedule. The Iowa data center is scheduled to begin limited testing late this year and come online sometime in 2009.
The delay in the Pryor facility is the first concrete sign that Google may be moderating the pace of its data center building boom. Google spent $452 million on its infrastructure in the third quarter of 2008, which was its lowest investment in capital expenditures since the company began its data center construction effort in early 2007. The third quarter total was well below the record $842 million Google spent on its data centers in the first quarter.
On its earnings call, company officials insisted that Google would continue to invest in infrastructure, although CEO Eric Schmidt said data center spending might be "lumpy."
While Google has many data centers, each of its recent projects has economic importance in the community where it is located. Google received both sales tax and property tax incentives from the state and local governments in Oklahoma, and legislators also passed a law allowing municipal power companies to not report power usage by their largest industrial customers - which in this case made it possible for the local utility in Pryor to not disclose Google's energy usage.