Posted By Rich Miller On April 9, 2012 @ 9:35 am In Oregon | No Comments
Another large data center may soon join Apple and Facebook in the small central Oregon town of Prineville, according to local media reports. Efforts to attract an additional data center have been boosted by the acceleration of a project to bring an additional 400 megawatts of power capacity to Prineville.
The prospective data center project, known by state and local officials by the codename Jasper, has been scouting sites in Oregon since last fall. At one point, it was believed that the company had put its Oregon plans on hold. But local media  report that Prineville may be positioned to land Project Jasper, which is said to be considering a property on Millican Road, less than a mile from the location of a major data center for Facebook.
Facebook put Prineville on the data center map by choosing the small town, which has a population of about 10,000, as the site of an ultra-efficient data center. The company has spent more than $210 million  on the Prineville facility, and recently began building a second data center identical to the first. Facebook’s long-term plans for the campus include an option for a third 300,000 square foot facility.
That’s where the issue of power capacity enters the picture. The 28 megawatts of utility power dedicated for Facebook’s for the 300,000 square foot first phase isn’t extraordinary for a data center of that size. But it stands out in Crook
County, where all the homes and business other than Facebook use 30 megawatts of power. Based on the power requirements of the first building, that could mean about 78 megawatts of electricity to support the Facebook campus.
In February Apple confirmed plans  to build a data center across the street from the Facebook campus. The arrival of a second huge project sharpened the focus on the regional power capacity.
Shortly after Apple’s arrival, the Bonneville Power Administration and Pacific Power announced plans to accelerate the completion of the Ponderosa substation in Prineville, which will add 400 megawatts of electric capacity. The substation, which was originally scheduled for completion in June 2013, will now be completed in January.
That additional power appears to be the key to unleashing significant data center construction in Prineville. Local permits indicate that Apple is commencing a 10,000 square foot first phase using modular units by NxGen Modular , with a more extensive build-out anticipated once additional power is available.
The availability of power appears to have jump-started the Jasper project. So who is the mystery tenant? Some local media have mentioned Rackspace, which has reportedly scouted sites in the state. The Oregonian  reported that Boardman Acquisition LLC – an entity presumed by some to be connected to Racksapace – had purchased on option to buy land at the Port of Morrow, where Amazon operates a data center supporting its cloud computing platform.
“Rackspace had initially considered Prineville for its facility, but late last year, the company opted to locate in Morrow County instead,” the Central Oregonian  reported last week. “Now, rumors have emerged that Rackspace might flip back to Prineville, because Morrow County lacks an adequate power supply. Those rumors have not yet been confirmed.”
The chatter about a shift in plans may be tied to the Port of Morrow’s option with Boardman Acquisition, which was originally set to expire March 31. In February, the port commissioners approved an amendment to the agreement. The amendment was approved in executive session, so details aren’t yet available, but the timing suggests it could include an extension.
One reason that it’s difficult to sort out whether Rackspace is in the Prineville picture is that Oregon officials have reportedly used the codename “Cloud” for the Rackspace opportunity, suggesting “Jasper” is another project entirely. Rackspace says it has no plans to build  any data centers and will continue to lease its facilities. One possibility is that Rackspace is working with a wholesale provider or developer on a project in Oregon. This approach would allow Rackspace to lease rather than build (consistent with its strategy) and provide the right economics for a developer to pursue new construction of a wholesale or build-to-suit project.
The pursuit of cheap power and lower taxes is changing the face  of the data center industry, placing huge facilities in remote locations far removed from the users, such as Prineville.
The central Oregon climate allows data centers to take advantage of “free cooling,” the practice of using cool outside temperatures to support the cooling systems. This approach allows data centers to use outside air to either cool water or provide direct air cooling for servers. Either approach allows companies to reduce their use of refrigeration systems, which use a large amount of energy.
Article printed from Data Center Knowledge: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com
URL to article: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/04/09/another-major-data-center-for-prineville/
URLs in this post:
 local media: http://www.ktvz.com/news/30845349/detail.html
 $210 million: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/01/30/facebook-has-spent-210-million-on-oregon-data-center/
 confirmed plans: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/02/21/apple-confirms-plans-for-oregon-data-center/
 NxGen Modular: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/03/21/nxgen-making-waves-in-the-modular-market/
 Oregonian: http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2011/11/rackspace_nears_deal_to_build.html
 Central Oregonian: http://www.centraloregonian.com/archives/story.aspx/13943/more-power-for-prineville
 no plans to build: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/12/12/whats-up-with-rackspace-in-oregon/
 changing the face: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/02/28/the-new-data-center-geography/
 Rich Miller: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/author/richm/
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