Switch Building Bigger With SuperNAP Expansion

Barely two years after completing its massive SuperNAP, Las Vegas data center specialist Switch is building again. The company has begun construction on two new facilities on its Las Vegas campus that will add 600,000 square feet of data center space in 2012.

Rich Miller

October 4, 2011

4 Min Read
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The power spine at the Switch SuperNAP offers perspective on the size of the 400,000 square foot data center in Las Vegas. Switch has begun construction on additional superNAPs on adjacent property.

Barely two years after completing its massive SuperNAP, Las Vegas data center specialist Switch is building again. The company has begun construction on two new facilities on its Las Vegas campus that will add 600,000 square feet of data center space in 2012.

Switch also said today that it has wrapped up $124 million in growth financing with  Citigroup, Intel Capital, Nevada State Bank, Bank of Nevada and City National Bank to support its expansion project.

The two new buildings - to be known as SuperNAP NV-8 and SuperNAP NV-9 - are part of a major expansion by Switch on land adjacent to the 400,000 square foot SuperNAP, which will create an immense data center hub spanning more than 2 million square feet. Switch envisions a 500-megawatt Las Vegas campus, to be known as the The Las Vegas Digital Exchange Campus, that will house 31,000 cabinets of servers upon its completion.

'Unbelievable" Cloud Demand Drives Expansion

Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy says the expansion is tied to the growth of cloud computing, which is driving demand for high-density colocation with strong connectivity.

"We have seen unbelievable demand," said Roy. "Last month Switch installed 5 MVA of delivered UPS to our customers and we expect to see similar growth over the coming months.  This expansion comes at a time when customer demand for our services is showing no signs of an economic downturn.

"Switch is about future proofing the data center needs of our customers," Roy added. "Beginning construction on SuperNAP NV-8 and SuperNAP NV-9 clearly positions the Switch Las Vegas Digital Exchange Campus as the world’s most powerful data center and technology ecosystem."

Switch will build SuperNAPs NV-8 and NV-9 as separate buildings. "The initial plan is to build one after the other, but demand could change that equation," said Jason Mendenhall, Executive Vice President at Switch.  Announcing both buildings gives Switch the flexibility to handle large requirements from fast-growing customers. The site has 80 megawatts of power capacity in place to support the new data centers. Switch is also building a new 200MVA substation to support even higher density environments and lay the groundwork for NAPs 10, 11, and 12.

Big Boost to Las Vegas Economy
Switch's growth is a welcome development in Las Vegas, where the real estate and tourism businesses have been hit hard by the economic downturn. Switch says it expects to spend roughly $400 million expanding the SuperNAP campus making it the largest active building project in Nevada, supporting more than 3,000 construction jobs and creating hundreds of permanent operational and technical jobs.

"The economic impact of this expansion extends well beyond the construction phase and will lead to technology companies calling the Las Vegas Digital Exchange Campus their home," said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, who attended a recent groundbreaking for the expansion. "Switch’s leadership in the technology industry demonstrates that Nevada is a great place for innovation."

"The SuperNAP projects located at the Las Vegas Digital Exchange Campus are the cornerstone of a new technology vertical for the Nevada economy at a time when economic diversification is paramount to a more stable future for Nevada," said Steve Hill, Interim Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. "Switch represents the bridge between economic development and economic diversification."

Expansion to Use Modular Design
The new data centers will be built using a modular design developed by Switch, which designs its own custom infrastructure. The SwitchMOD (shot for Modular Optimized Design) is a standardized design that can be built and deployed in modules from 25,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet of space. The design integrates Switch's T-SCIF high-density airflow containment systems and WDMD custom cooling units, which can switch between four different types of cooling based on outside conditions.

Switch has been building a series of colocation centers in Las Vegas since 2000. Its business got a boost in December 2002, when it acquired a former Enron broadband services facility out of bankruptcy. Enron had been seeking to build a commodity bandwidth exchange, and had arranged excellent connectivity for its Las Vegas center. The company was little  known outside its Las Vegas home base prior to 2008, when Switch unveiled its plans for the SuperNAP and its innovative approach to high-density cooling.


The groundbreaking ceremony for Switch SuperNAPs NV8 and NV9, with the existing SuperNAP NV7 in the background. At center are Swith CEO Rob Roy (left of center) and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (right of center). Click the photo for a larger version of the image.


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