Forsythe Enters Data Center Development With Chicago Project


An illustration of Forsythe Data Centers’ plan for a new data center in Elk Grove Village, Ill. (Image: Forsythe)

IT infrastructure integrator Forsythe Technology is entering the data center development business. The company plans to build a 221,000 square foot facility in the suburban Chicago market in Elk Grove Village, Ill., where it will offer data center suites with dedicated infrastructure. Forsythe expects to break ground in March and have the facility ready for occupancy in early 2015.

Forsythe has a long history in IT consulting and data center engineering. With its new data center, the company seeks to blend elements of the colocation and wholesale data center markets. It’s offering 56 private client suites that will be 1,000 square feet each, compared to the 12,000 square feet seen in suite offerings from wholesale providers. Customers of that size have historically wound up in cages within colocation facilities. Each suite will have its own UPS support and a dedicated cooling system.

With this “Retail+” approach, Forsythe hopes to bring wholesale-style infrastructure to colo-sized requirements. It’s splitting the difference with projected lease terms of five years, compared to three years for colo and up to 10 years or more for wholesale.

A Flexible Approach

“Forsythe’s facility offers the flexibility and agility of the retail data center market, in terms of size and shorter contract length, with the privacy, control and density of large-scale, wholesale data centers,” said Albert Weiss, the President of Forsythe Data Centers, and also executive vice president and CFO of Forsythe Technology.

The vice president of data center development for Forsythe Data Centers is Steve Harris, who has headed Forsythe’s data center engineering team since 2002, and also worked in the data center division at Comdisco.

“After many years of listening to the needs of our clients and helping them build data centers and find colocation data center space, we made sure this data center facility has everything they have been asking us for,” said Harris.

Contintued Growth in Chicago Suburbs

The Forsythe projects adds to the growing cluster of data centers in the western suburbs of Chicago. DuPont Fabros, Equinix and CenturyLink all have facilities in Elk Grove Village, while Digital Realty Trust has a major project in Franklin Park, Ascent has a site in Northlake, Continuum operates in Lombard, and Latisys and Server Farm Realty have projects in Oak Brook. Single-tenant facilities in “Chicagoland” include large data centers for Microsoft and the CME.

The Forsythe facility is being designed to comply with U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification standards for data centers and to obtain Tier III certification from the Uptime Institute. Forsythe will move its multi-vendor Technology Evaluation Center and Integration and Configuration Center from its corporate headquarters in Skokie to the new data center. The evaluation center will be about 2,500 square feet, while the integrated technology center will use about 14,000 square feet of the completed building.

Forsythe’s data suites will be designed with redundant UPS configurations and air conditioning systems, with the density choices ranging from 200 to 300 watts per square foot.

“Each suite will have a dedicated power infrastructure with 2N UPS and dedicated cooling infrastructure with N+1 precision air conditioning through Emerson Network Power,” said Harris. “Generator backup is building-based and shared across suites until a client reaches 4,000 square feet and then generator support is private.”

The 1,000 square foot data suite will have an adjacent 670 square foot equipment gallery housing the UPS and air conditioning units. Clients with larger requirements can either lease multiple suites, or Forsythe can remove walls to combine floor space up to 4,000 square feet.

Contractors working with Forsythe include Environmental Systems Design, Inc., Duke Realty, Turner Construction, Emerson Network Power, Anixter and Commonwealth Edison.

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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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