Is it news to say that the data center business is booming in Ashburn, Virginia? Not exactly, as the town in Loudoun County has been a key connectivity hub since the early days of the Internet. But recent groundbreakings, facility openings and leases make it clear that Ashburn’s prominent place in the geography of the data center industry continues undiminished.
Recent weeks have seen three notable developments: Digital Realty has broken ground on a large new data center, RagingWire Data Centers has opened its first facility in the northern Virginia market, and DuPont Fabros Technology has signed a number of large leases, including one which may have been enabled by recent tax incentives. Here’s an update:
Digital Realty Adds Fourth Building: Digital Realty Trust (DLR), the leading global provider of data center space, has broken ground on a two-story, 214,000 square foot data center facility, which is the fourth building to be developed at the company’s primary Ashburn campus. The building shell and core is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012 followed by the first three 1.125 megawatt, purpose-built data centers, available in the second quarter of 2013.
"Our strategy is to have inventory readily available for customers in our top data center markets," said Michael Foust, Chief Executive Officer for Digital Realty. "With our existing facilities nearly fully leased within the Ashburn campus, we expect the timely delivery of this new space a year from now to satisfy customers' data center requirements for the foreseeable future."
The building has the capacity to accommodate up to ten 1.125 megawatt data center PODs, featuring airside economization that will enable customers to achieve among the lowest PUEs in the industry.
"This project presents an exciting opportunity for us to offer customers in the Northern Virginia market our full suite of data center solutions in a state of the art facility designed for flexibility, reliability and efficiency," said Dave Caron, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management at Digital Realty. "We believe that this facility will be able to accommodate a large majority of the data center requirements from customers seeking space in this highly strategic market."
Rackspace Expands With DuPont Fabros: Rackspace recently pre-leased nearly 9 megawatts of space at DuPont Fabros Technology’s new ACC6 data center in Ashburn. That includes 3.9 megawatts of caoacity that was initially leased in DFT’s Chicago facility, but was shifted to Virginia. DuPont Fabros President and CEO Hossein Fateh said a factor in the shift was the recent passage of data center incentives.
“We were very active in getting a legislation passed and the Governor of Virginia has now signed it, whereby if we qualify for certain things, there is no sales tax on servers inside a data center,” said Fateh. “That makes Virginia a little bit better (than Chicago) in terms of economics. And it is a significant shift. If you think about it, the tenants will spend $10 million a megawatt within their space. And they may renew their servers every 4 years. “
Virginia passed the incentives several years ago to remain competitive with North Carolina, which has been competing aggressively for major data center projects. But earlier versions of the incentives had a 2017 sunset date for the expanded sales tax exemptions, whch have now been pushed out to 2020.
The incentives apply to computer equipment and software purchased or leased for the processing, storage, retrieval or communication of data, including but not limited to servers, routers, connections and other hardware, including chillers and backup generators used in a data center. To qualify, the applicant must invest at least $150 and create at least 50 new jobs that pay at least one and one-half times the prevailing average wage in that locality.
RagingWire Open Ashburn Facility: While it hasn't yet issued a press release, Sacramento-based RagingWire Data Centers announced via its Facebook page that its new data center in Ashburn is now live. RagingWire is one of several companies entering the northern Virginia market, along with GoGrid and Sabey Data Centers.
RagingWire's Virginia facility is 140,000 square feet, with 70,000 square feet used for raised floor data center space. The facility boasts a 2N+1 redundancy level in its critical facilities infrastructure in order to lead the industry in facility uptime, offering a 100% uptime SLA.
The Virginia data center boosts RagingWire’s total available data center space to 610,000 square feet nationally. RagingWire currently operates a 220,000 square foot data center in Sacramento, with a newer 250,000 square foot data center nearby. In early 2011 the company secured $75 million in credit facilities, saying it would help fund expansion at “other sites under consideration.”