Wikipedia On The Hunt For More Data Center Space
A Wikimedia cage inside one of the foundation’s data centers

Wikipedia On The Hunt For More Data Center Space

The Wikimedia Foundation is looking to expand its data center infrastructure, and is seeking a site in the western United States to support the growth of Wikipedia, which is one of the most visited destinations on the Internet.

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The cage for the Wikimedia Foundation's servers inside an Equinix data center in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo By Victorgrigas , via Wikimedia Commons)

The Wikimedia Foundation is looking to expand its data center infrastructure, and is seeking a site in the western United States to support the growth of Wikipedia, which is one of the most visited destinations on the Internet, with mind-boggling traffic.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit which operates the online encyclopedia,  put out a request for proposal this week, looking for a location from Chicago and points west. It's seeking capacity for at least 32 enclosures initially with expansion possibilities, with the right of first refusal for adjacent or nearby cage area for another row of eight racks.

Wikipedia has a long history of data center expansion. Last January, it made Ashburn its official home, in addition to data centers in Tampa (its original home) San Francisco and Amsterdam. Last January, the group talked of adding a server farm in Asia to support its global traffic. Last August, a fiber cut knocked Wikipedia Ashburn offline. Despite its low-budget approach to supporting a high-traffic site, the Wikimedia Foundation made reliability a priority in 2010, when it began expanding its U.S. infrastructure.

The foundation's public RFP requires carrier neutral space, with diverse carriers. "The access and capability to join a large (100 members or more) Internet peering exchange will be an important consideration for site selection," according to the RFP, a requirement that will narrow the scope of locations.

Environment considerations are also in play, as the environmental impact of cooling efficiency, reclaimed water etc, will be an important consideration for final site selection. Other requirements include:

  • The capability for redundant 30A * 3 Phase 208V circuits in each enclosure, with a usable power density of 8.6kW per enclosure.
  • Redundant cooling, with a maintained inlet/cold aisle temperature of 65-80F, and 40 to 60 percent relative humidity.
  • The site should have power redundancy systems that are adequate and well maintained at a minimum of N+1

Any organization meeting the requirements outlined are invited to submit a proposal for review. The term of the contract is not to exceed three years, with an option for annual renewal later. If this so far sounds like a good fit, The RFP is publicly posted and expected to be open until November 8.

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