Fortune Data Centers Adds Power Choice

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A look at some of the power and cooling infrastructure supporting the Fortune Data Centers facility in San Jose, California.

SAN JOSE, Calif.Fortune Data Centers has received approval from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to transfer to Direct Access (DA) power service, a move that will give customers access to cheaper and greener power, the company said today. The Direct Access program allows eligible PG&E customers to competitively source electricity directly from other energy suppliers.

Fortune also announced plans to expand Phase 1 of its data center in San Jose, Calif., adding 1.4 megawatts of critical IT load to the existing 8 MW, bringing the total capacity of the facility to 9.4 megawatts. The additional capacity is expected to be fully commissioned by year end and available in early 2011.

More Power Choices for Customers
Fortune CEO John Sheputis says he believes the company’s San Jose facility is the first multi-tenant data center in California to offer Direct Access to tenants. He said Fortune will pass all power cost savings on to customers.

“Giving businesses and consumers the freedom to choose their energy service providers can lead to better outcomes, such as lower power rates and greater use of renewable energy sources,” said Sheputis. “Offering Direct Access is not only a benefit to our tenants – it’s a win for Fortune as it further distinguishes our facility from competing data centers in Silicon Valley and California.”

Power pricing is of particular interest in Silicon Valley, where much of the data center inventory focuses on Santa Clara, where municipal utility Silicon Valley Power has historically had slightly lower power pricing than surrounding towns served by PG&E.

New Law Allows Commercial Access
Fortune received acceptance for Direct Access through a new law providing for limited reopening of Direct Access to non-residential customers. Under Direct Access, eligible utility customers can choose from multiple energy suppliers.

Sheputis estimated Fortune’s tenants could save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on energy costs, or opt for renewable energy to further reduce carbon emissions.

Fortune’s expansion comes amid a building boom in Silicon Valley, as DuPont Fabros Technology, Digital Realty Trust, Vantage Data Centers and CoreSite are all building new space in Santa Clara. Analysts who track the Silicon Valley market say they believe there are enough customers to support the new supply.

Analysts: Demand Can Absorb New Supply
“Demand for multi-tenant data center space in Silicon Valley during 2010 is expected to grow by approximately 13 percent, while supply is anticipated to increase by approximately seven percent,” said Jason Schafer, Senior Datacenter Analyst for Tier1 Research. “Those providers that are able to expand, and in turn support their customer growth, will be well positioned to capture significant market share in the future.”

Fortune has been one of the beneficiaries of the phenomenal growth of social networking.  The first phase of the data center is fully leased to two tenants. Fortune doesn’t identify its customers, but industry sources have identified the tenants as Facebook and NTT America, which provides hosting services for Twitter.

Fortune’s 78,000 square foot facility has earned a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The company says it is operating at a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.38.

Energy Efficiency Features
The Fortune data center is housed in a former Seagate fabrication facility, which was already equipped with 8 megawatts of power capacity, a 100,000 gallon water storage tank, and a seismic isolation system.

Fortune Data Centers’ energy efficiency features include a design that uses a slab floor and drops cool air into the data center from above, taking advantage of the natural tendency for denser cool air to fall while warm air rises. Sheputis said this approach is more efficient than raised-floor designs, which require energy to pump the cold air under the flooring and up into the data center.

Fortune’s air handlers are housed on the upper floor of its facility, and feature variable speed drives to provide granular control of air pressure. Cooling is delivered into the data center through the ceiling, directly into a cold aisle containment system created by vinyl curtains between the top of the racks and the ceiling, preventing warm air from mixing back in with cool air for the servers.

“We continue to learn and improve,” said Sheputis. “The expansion capacity will be even more energy efficient.”

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.

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