‘Container Colo’ Coming to Silicon Valley

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Large facilities customized for data center containers were originally the province of huge cloud builders like Google and Microsoft. But a small but growing number of companies are offering multi-tenant “container colo” centers that allow companies to quickly deploy containers or modular data centers in third-party space.

This new type of facility will soon get a test-drive in Silicon Valley. In the next several weeks Pelio & Associates will install three container data centers in a facility on Space Park Drive in Santa Clara, Calif. Pelio hopes to fill the 24,000 square foot building with up to 23 containers for customers seeking to rapidly deploy capacity.

Pelio has developed a number of data centers in Santa Clara, and partnered with its Digital Realty Trust on several more. Les Pelio, the founder of Pelio & Associates, believes the market is ready for something new and different.

Focusing on Speed to Market
“We’re really focused on speed-to-market and lower cost,” said Pelio. “This really brings the concept together. As a developer, it allows for strategic deployment of capital.”

A container center requires less infrastructure than a traditional wholesale data center. Pelio says the facility will provide space, power, connectivity and chilled water for cooling through docking stations around the perimeter of the container area.

Testing the Water With Container Centers
A number of colocation and wholesale data center specialists have offered space for container modules, most notable i/o Data Centers, which has designed the entire second phase of its huge i/o Phoenix data center around its new modular offering. CoreSite also has announced initiatives to house containers for customers of HP.

A startup called Dock IT has been marketing container hosting sites in Virginia in Gainesville and Ashburn for about a year, but has not yet finalized any tenants, according to chief operating office Frank Piatkowski.

The container center concept is moving ahead in Europe, where Colt and CapGemini have developed data center designs around modular deployments.

Pelio says his 24,000 square foot Santa Clara building will provide both security and flexibility. The faiclity will have access security systems much like a traditional data center, which then provide access to the container bay. The open area can hold up to 23 containers of different sizes. Pelio notes that modular units range from 20 feet up to 53 feet in length.

Flexible Designs
“We really believe the layout for these type of facilities is going to morph,” Pelio said, noting that new modular designs are emerging. “We’re really about providing floor space in a well-located facility. (The type of module) doesn’t make a difference to us. Instead of me telling you what we have, you can tell us what you need.”

Santa Clara is the data center capital of Silicon Valley because the local power company, Silicon Valley Power, offers slightly lower rates than those available from PG&E in surrounding towns. Pelio’s building is located next to a Silicon Valley Power substation, and adjacent to Digital Realty Trust’s growing Santa Clara campus.

Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros Technology, CoreSite, Terremark, Vantage Data Centers and QTS are all building new data center space in Santa Clara. The construction projects are expected to create more than 500,000 square feet of new data center space.

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.

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