Rackspace May Consolidate Data Centers

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Rackspace Hosting may shift some of its infrastructure from older data centers in its San Antonio home base to newer facilities, the company said this week. Rackspace said it may choose not to renew its leases on two San Antonio data centers totaling about 15,000 square feet of space. The facilities are between eight and 10 years old, respectively, and both leases expire in 2012.

“The data center space we have available in the San Antonio area is up for contract renewal in the next couple of years and we are evaluating our options,” said Mark Roenigk, chief operating officer at Rackspace, in a statement to the San Antonio Express-News. “We are expanding data center space across other regions in the U.S., where we are able to achieve better energy efficiency and economics. With these additional capacity requirements, it creates new opportunities for our current and future Rackers.”

As of Sept. 30, 2010, Rackspace had 177,148 square feet of data center technical space to house more than 64,000 customer servers. That space is 69 percent utilized, and yields $4,602 of revenue per square foot of space, a figure that has climbed steadily each quarter from $3,764 per square foot a year ago.

Newer Facilities = Better Density and Revenue
Many older data center facilities have difficulty supporting the high-density power and cooling loads made possible by the latest generation of servers. High-density installations offer more computing capacity per square foot, which translates into more revenue in an efficiently-run facility. By shifting servers from older data centers to newer ones, Rackspace can get more bang for its data center buck.

The company has been consolidating its UK operations, moving servers from three small data centers into a large new facility in Slough, a suburb of London.

An unanswered question is whether Rackspace will redeploy the San Antonio capacity to other regions, or build or lease new data center space in San Antonio, where it has its headquarters in a huge former shopping mall. Rackspace has space available to build a data center within the complex, but its recent expansions have focused on leasing wholesale data center space in other major Internet markets. About 30 Rackspace employees staff the two San Antonio data centers, but could be redeployed to other sites.

Expansion Space Available
Rackspace currently has unused expansion space totaling 24,400 square feet of space in Chicago and 3,300 square feet of space in northern Virginia. The company has added more than 38,000 customers and nearly 10,000 servers over the last year, nearly all of them in its fast-growing cloud computing operation.

The news emerged as Rackspace customers in the San Antonio sites encountered performance problems that left some customers offline for several hours. The company said the problems in for some Cloud Sites customers were due to latency issues, and were eventually resolved by a configuration change.

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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One Comment

  1. Daniel Golding

    Doesn't Dupont Fabros, the provider of all of Rackspace's new datacenter deserve a shout-out? They've done a great job and provided RAX with a super-reliable product. I think that's the real story here.