Cisco Systems (CSCO) plans to build invest at least $184 million in a major data center in Allen, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. The new facility is planned for a 34-acre site near North Central Expressway. Cisco's plans call for a 140,000 square foot data center, which could eventually be expanded to 350,000 square feet. Construction is slated to begin early next year and take 18 to 24 months to complete.
The site in Allen is adjacent to two 138 kV (138,000 volt) transmission lines and an existing substation. The city's marketing for the site includes plans for two 23 megawatt power feeds.
Local officials in Allen were jubilant. "It’s huge for us," Jennifer Grimm. Director of Business Development with the Allen Economic Development Corp., told the Dallas News, which reported details of the project last night. "We’ve been working for several years to market sites up there for data centers." The city will provide property tax abatements and road improvements.
The scope of the project is significant for Cisco. The company operates 52 data centers, including 14 production facilities and 38 data centers used for product development of the company’s networking and data center products. But none of these facilities are huge, as Cisco has a total data center footprint of 215,000 square feet. Many of the company's data centers are smaller facilities built by companies that Cisco later acquired.
Why build bigger now? Cisco's research projects that by 2013 Internet traffic will be four times larger than it is today. The company is clearly building ahead, as the new facility won't be available until late 2011 or early 2012.
Cisco operates a substantial campus in Richardson, Texas, which is just south of Allen. That includes a new data center the company opened in 2007.
Cisco will soon begin shifting all of its in-house data centers to the company’s new Unified Computing System in the next two years, the company said. The migration will take place as part of a rolling hardware refresh that will see all of Cisco’s data centers gradually converted to the company’s new infrastructure platform.