Everything is bigger in Texas, as the saying goes, and Reno, Nevada-based RagingWire should fit right in. The data center provider, majority-owned by Japan’s NTT Communications, is planning its first Texas data center, bringing to Dallas-Fort Worth its penchant for massive campuses with the luxury feel of W hotels.
The company, whose customer list includes Twitter, is preparing to buy a 42-acre tract of land in Garland, a fairly large city immediately to the northeast of Dallas. Garland officials approved an economic incentive package for the company earlier this week.
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the top and fastest-growing US data center markets. While Garland is part of the metroplex, it hasn’t seen the kind of data center activity its neighbors Richardson, Plano, Carrollton, and Dallas have seen in recent years. City officials hope to change that, and the deal with RagingWire is their first big move.
As RagingWire’s team was shopping for a site in the Dallas market, focusing on those already active data center cities, Garland officials approached them early on, Bruno Berti, director of product management at RagingWire, said in an interview.
After some examination, the city turned out to be quite ideal for the company’s purposes. It offered cheap power and was next door to Richardson, which is where a big chunk of the Dallas market’s data centers are located. What that proximity means is a lot of fiber-optic network infrastructure “a stone’s throw away,” as Doug Adams, RagingWire’s senior VP and chief revenue officer, put it.
Although RagingWire will have to build more fiber to connect its future campus to that infrastructure, it will not be over a long distance. “Because we are in the key area within the Dallas marketplace, there is a lot of fiber nearby, but it is a few miles away,” Berti said. “We will have at least two to four separate paths from those fiber points into our facility.”
The city has offered the company low-cost power, property tax breaks, and some subsidies for fiber construction as incentives, Adams said. Garland operates its own utility, called Garland Power and Light, which is why it is able to use energy rates as leverage.
At full build-out, the campus will be about 1 million square feet in size, consisting of five buildings, 16 megawatts of data center capacity each. The company will offer everything from retail colocation to 4MW vaults, Berti said. For the first time, RagingWire plans to also sell capacity in 1MW increments.
Customers that prefer to stay close to their servers will get about 1,000 square feet of office and storage space per 1MW of data center capacity they lease, Carl Lubawy, the company’s director of critical facilities design and development and architect of the future Texas site, said. The offices will be interconnected, so nobody will have to face the scorching Texas heat during their work day if they don’t want to.
Like RagingWire’s recently opened CA3 data center in Sacramento, California, its Texas campus will have amenities that will “make it feel like a W hotel,” Adams said. Its third Sacramento data center, launched earlier this year, has a sleek modern interior design, a gym, a game room, and a climbing wall.
Dallas-Fort Worth will be the company’s third market. Besides Sacramento, it has a data center campus in Ashburn, Virginia. But expect RagingWire to continue adding push-pins to the map. Dallas happened to be the first of a handful of major US data center markets the company wants to step into – an aggressive expansion plan enabled by access to funding that came with the NTT acquisition two years ago. Other potential markets on the list are New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley, and another metro in the west, such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, or Denver, Adams said.
He views aggressive expansion as a must for a data center provider that wants to survive and especially thrive in today’s market. Large colo companies and cloud providers are doing really well, while the smaller niche players aren’t, he said. “We needed to really scale to do well. That ability was hampered by our ability to raise cash” before the NTT acquisition. The company’s growth plans were outpacing its ability to raise capital at reasonable interest rates, which is why the NTT deal was attractive.
RagingWire’s scale is also no longer limited to US. Its customers can now tap into NTT’s vast and rapidly growing global data center empire. The NTT acquisition gave the Reno company the cash to expand on its home turf and also that global reach that is so important to competing in today’s data center services market.