What's the latest on Twitter's data center expansion? The company's not saying. But we're hearing that Twitter has leased data center space in a facility in Sacramento, Calif. and apparently postponed or shelved its original plans to open a new facility in Salt Lake City.
Twitter currently manages its infrastructure through a managed hosting agreement with NTT America, which has cited Twitter’s growth as a driver in the expansion of its data center network. In April Twitter announced plans to add a data center of its own to handle the rapid growth of the microblogging service, which has added more than 100 million new users in 2010. The company announced new funding today, which will help buy more servers and data center space.
Opening "Later This Year"?
In July Twitter said that its new facility would be located in Salt Lake City and open "later this year." With 2010 drawing to a close, we touched base with Twitter spokesman Matt Graves and asked whether the Salt Lake City data center project was on schedule, or whether the expansion had been postponed or shifted to another location. "We're still not commenting on our data center," Graves wrote in an email.
That's consistent with Twitter's practice with most data center inquiries. But industry sources say the Sacramento site will now be Twitter's first expansion beyond its current operations at NTT America.
Popular Market for DR
Sacramento is a popular location for data center infrastructure for disaster recovery, as it's outside the state's earthquake zone and about a two-hour drive from either the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Sacramento also offers moderate power pricing from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The Sacramento market features a cluster of commercial data centers, as well as some facilities housing infrastructure for California's state government
In announcing the company's expansion plans last July, Twitter’s Jean-Paul Cozzatti outlined the benefits of the move. "Having dedicated data centers will give us more capacity to accommodate this growth in users and activity on Twitter," Cozzatti wrote on the Twitter Engineering blog. "Second, Twitter will have full control over network and systems configuration, with a much larger footprint in a building designed specifically around our unique power and cooling needs."
How much larger a footprint? Twitter was seeking several megawatts of power capacity in the short-term, with the possibility of further expansion in the future.
There are several providers in Sacramento with space available, but those requirements align most closely with RagingWire Enterprise Solutions, a colocation provider that operates a 220,000 square foot data center. RagingWire has been in business since 2000, and recently confirmed plans to build a second data center adjacent to its current facility.
There's also space available at Herakles Data, another long-term player in the Sacramento colo market, which recently had an anchor tenant vacate about 20,000 square feet of space. Among new players, Advanced Data Centers continues to market its Sacramento facility, but doesn't currently offer any move-in ready finished space, which would be Twitter's likely preference.
It's worth noting that Twitter scouted data center locations in multiple markets in the western United States before announcing its expansion plans in Salt Lake City. What's clear is that Twitter's growth is likely to make it a player in the data center and managed hosting market for some time to come.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated from the original version to note that Twitter has now committed to space in Sacramento.