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Roundup: Google, VISI, Level 3, Active Power

Roundup: Will Google build a new data centee in Australia to support Google Apps? Also, VISI announces an expansion of its St. Paul data center facility, Level 3 (LVLT) expands in Florida, and Active Power (ACPW) reports strong flywheel sales in late 2009.

Here’s a roundup of some of some of this week’s headlines from the data center and hosting industry:

Google data center in Australia? Speculation over the possibility of Google (GOOG) building a data center in Australia has picked up again.  ZDNet Australia reports that there is "intense interest" in Google's Application suite and quoted Google's Deepak Ramanathan, head of Asia-Pacific market development as saying that the "search giant was not ruling out an Australian data centre for services like Gmail, and that discussions were ongoing."  Global IT outsourcer CSC is pushing into cloud computing opportunities in Australia with Microsoft products and a recent strong interest in Google Apps from Australian enterprises and public sector organizations. ZDNet Australia also recently reported on IT services company Infosys opening an $8 million Melbourne data centre.

VISI expands Minnesota data center. Data center services and hosting company VISI announced initiation of its demand-driven expansion of their St. Paul data center.  The 7,000 square foot expansion project will bring the downtown St. Paul facility to 18,000 net square feet when completed.

Active Power reports 2009 results. Critical power systems manufacturer Active Power (ACPW) announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ending December 31, 2009.  Active Power received more than $8 million in PowerHouse orders in the second half of 2009, exceeding all of the company's containerized sales in 2008.  They also shipped 86 flywheel based UPS systems at an average selling price of $90,000 per unit during the fourth quarter of 2009.  Fourth quarter revenue increased 64 percent to $14 million and gross profit margin was 19 percent.

Level 3 expands Florida presence.  Level 3 (LVLT) announced it has expanded operations and is enhancing its local presence in Central Florida, including the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Orlando metropolitan areas.  Scott Turner, Level 3's general manager for Central and Northern Florida said "Mid-market enterprises need a communications provider that knows the local marketplace and can provide the expert insight into how today's network solutions – such as unified communications and collaborative technologies – can benefit their businesses."  Level 3 reported fourth quarter and full year 2009 results last week with positive free cash flow of $44 million for the year. At the end of 2009 Level 3 had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $836 million. “In 2010, while we are still cautious about the effect the economy will have on our business, we believe it is the right time to increase our investment for growth,” said Sunit Patel, executive vice president and CFO of Level 3.

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