E-commerce giant eBay has switched on a data center in Utah that is primarily powered by thirty fuel cells — devices that turn fuel like natural gas into electricity through a chemical reaction. eBay’s new data center will use the local power grid only as backup power, and eBay says this architecture is not only an environmental step, but makes the data center more reliable and immune to grid blackouts.
In addition to eBay’s unprecedented use of fuel cells for a data center, the company has also invested in a project where clean power company Ormat will install technology at nearby natural gas pipelines (on the compressor stations) to capture the heat waste from these stations and turn it into electricity. eBay will use this electricity (5 MW of it) back at the data center, in a move which will help lower eBay’s overall carbon footprint.
This data center is the first of its kind in the world, and highlights how data center operators are looking to experiment with cleaner power sources as the growing number of data centers in the world suck up ever more energy resources. eBay’s use of the grid as a backup only, also shows how data centers want to see how they can become independent from the grid, which can experience black outs of their control.
eBay has been talking about this unusual data center for awhile, but now the data center is finally live, so many transactions done on eBay and PayPal will be a little bit greener. The data center lit up this week is the second phase of the Topaz data center that eBay turned on in Utah a couple years ago.
Other tiny modular data centers can dock into the Utah site, and the facility is just getting the computing installed in it. Over the next few months and years eBay will add more hardware to the site and potentially add more fuel cells to power that hardware draw, too.
The fuel cells for the data center were provided by Valley startup Bloom Energy, and eBay’s Dean Nelson tells me in an interview that eBay and Bloom Energy have spent several months developing ways to make the fuel cell architecture resilient enough to run a data center 24/7. Unlike at a home or even office building, where if there’s a power failure it’s just a significant inconvenience, data centers need to stay up at all times to keep websites running, and any down time can lead to a lot of money lost.
Bloom Energy has sold fuel cells for data centers developed by Apple, Verizon,AT&T, NTT and others. The over-a-decade-old company has found a sizable market by helping Internet brands that run data centers reduce their overall carbon footprints and rethink power and the data center. Bloom is backed by investors including NEA, Kleiner Perkins, DAG Ventures, and GSV Capital. The company has raised over $1.1 billion.
eBay was originally hoping to use biogas — gas from organic waste — which is recycled and which is also carbon emissions free — but Nelson explained that sourcing biogas (from water waste treatment plants, landfills or animal farms) in the state was just too difficult. Instead of biogas, eBay is using natural gas to power the fuel cells and is offsetting the associated carbon emissions with the waste heat recovery project, which will operate around 20 miles from the data center.
The new phase of eBay’s Utah data center is “four times denser and half the cost,” of the first phase, said Nelson. Before eBay adds more hardware to the facility, the fuel cells will provide enough power to also power Topaz, too.
Courtesy of GigaOM
August has been a busy month for Five 9s Digital and data center certification in North Carolina. Two new data centers have recently hit the market and achieved the exclusive Best Data Sites Certified™ status. Here we are going to profile both of the new data center opportunities.
Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center The Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center, the first of our two data centers to be profiled, is located in Caldwell County, North Carolina, just a few miles from Google’s massive data center campus. This pre-vetted region in Caldwell County is also home to a recently transacted Best Data Sites Certified™ data center. In June of 2013, CentriLogic acquired the data center from data center operator and hosting services provider Dacentec.
The existing 117,600 SF Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center is now Best Data Sites Certified™. High level features relevant to certification include abundant, low cost, scalable power provided by Duke Energy; diverse fiber connectivity; excellent water and sewer infrastructure; and a low natural disaster and man-made threat risk. Other factors include an acreage footprint that is prime for expansion, and a scalable source of power to suit end-user needs.
Triangle NC Data Center The second of our two data centers to profile is the Triangle NC Data Center, located in Cary, North Carolina. The existing 30,000 SF data center is located within the data center hub of North Carolina as a part of the Raleigh-Durham market, which is also home to the Research Triangle Park and another Best Data Sites Certified™ data center (Raleigh-Durham Data Center).
The Triangle NC Data Center, similar to the Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center, benefits from abundant, low cost, reliable power from Duke Energy. The data center also offers diverse fiber routes connecting to the facility, an excellent water and sewer infrastructure, and is located in a region empirically known for its low risk of natural disasters. The secured location is also at a very low risk of man-made threats.
Recent BDS Certified™ Data Center Transactions Towards the end of 2012, multiple Best Data Sites Certified™ data center properties transacted in the marketplace. In November, Bed Bath & Beyond purchased a 50,000 SF BDS Certified™ data center shell in Catawba County, North Carolina. DataChambers also purchased a certified data center in October in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
North Carolina data center operator and hosting services provider Dacentec Inc. retained the services of Five 9s Digital to represent them in the sale of their data center and operations. Their Lenoir, NC data center was BDS Certified™ in 2012 and, in June of 2013, the data center and operations were acquired in a deal by CentriLogic.
Best Data Sites Certification™ The data center site selection process can be a lengthy, costly, and inconsistent science. Best Data Sites Certification™ is a consolidated standards system whereby the strictest industry site selection requirements are used to evaluate potential data center sites and buildings within a weighted scoring matrix.
BDS Alliance™ and the BDS Standards™ The BDS Alliance™ is an independent board comprised of data center professionals and companies. The alliance is charged with the creation and continued evaluation and maintenance of the BDS Standards™. These standards are key to creating an efficient, reliable, and cost effective data center site selection evaluation process.
Certification and Economic Development Partnerships Over the past few years, data center recruitment efforts have become increasingly collaborative in nature. The same can be said for Best Data Sites Certification™. Economic development groups, land and building owners, and utilities companies have partnered together throughout the certification process, seeking to improve their region’s competitive advantage as it relates to landing new data center initiatives.
For more information on Certification, either of the profiled data centers mentioned in this article, or other data center opportunities, please contact Five 9s Digital.
Five 9s Digital has announced that an existing 117,000 SF data center, located 2.5 miles from Google’s massive data center complex, is now on the market and available for sale or lease in Lenoir, North Carolina, within Caldwell County.
The data center sits on 9.7 acres of land, which offers on site expansion capabilities. The building offers highly reliable, low-cost power provided by Duke Energy and multiple fiber providers such as BroadPlex, BalsamWest, DukeNet, AT&T, Charter, Spirit Telecom, and others.
In addition to being located in such close proximity to Google’s data center, the Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center is also only three miles away from Centrilogic’s newly acquired data center. This pre-vetted region within North Carolina’s data center corridor is ideal for data center investment.
Caldwell County’s Tier I designation offers the most desirable tax incentive structure in the state of North Carolina.
The data center is located in an area with a very low risk of natural disasters with an excellent climate offering free cooling opportunity much of the year and has a minimal risk of man-made threats.
For more information, view the full brochure for the Lenoir Powered Shell Data Center. Contact Five 9s Digital for additional details.
The Triangle Data Center is an existing freestanding, vacant 30,000 SF data center located in Cary, NC serving the Raleigh-Durham data center market.
The data center offers multiple fiber providers with diverse building entrances, robust and low cost power by Duke Energy, 2 MW generator with 12,000 gallons of fuel storage and excellent mechanical and electrical infrastructure.
The Triangle data center is located in a pre-vetted region 18 miles from the Research Triangle Park in Durham, North Carolina, which is home to numerous corporate data centers such as: IBM, Ericsson, Synthon, Fidelity, Cisco, EMC, the Social Security Administration, and is near the Peak 10 and Windstream Hosted Solutions data centers.
The building is available for sale or for lease and offers substantial cost savings for colocation/managed services operators, cloud operators and corporate data center requirements.
Time Warner Cable (TWC) has broken ground on the expansion of its data center in Centennial, Colorado, called National Data Center West. This is one of two of the company’s main data centers.
The US$85m expansion will support the equipment that will deliver digital video and IP-based services for TWC’s core residential and business products.
Mike LaJoie, executive VP and CTO at TWC, said, “Every day we serve millions of customers across 29 states, from Hawaii to Maine, and expansion of National Data Center West reaffirms our commitment to deliver an expanding array of products, services and content to our customers anywhere, any time and on any device,” he said.
Time Warner Cable opened National Data Center East in Charlotte, North Carolina, late last year, and National Data Center West serves a nearly identical function to ensure availability of the company’s services.
Construction of the additional building in Centennial will continue through late 2014. The new facility is scheduled to go online in January 2015.
Including upgrades that have been made at the facility since 2011, investment in the entire project will top $141 million once complete.
The expansion will add 75% more capacity, matching its capabilities to the Charlotte data center. The facility’s total post-expansion size will be 170,000 sq ft, holding 1,600 racks and supporting up to 6.4MW of critical load.
Both sites host the applications that support about 70m residential emails sent every day, managing the billing records for more than 15m customers and supporting backend applications delivered to TWC employees. The centers also support core residential and commercial products and services, including WiFi, High Speed Data, Voice, TV services on smart phones and the company’s IntelligentHome home management offering.
The company is working to achieve LEED Silver certification for the facility.
[Courtesy of Data Center Dynamics]
A Look Back: September 2012
Five 9s Digital, a mission critical real estate company, was engaged by Centurylink to attract a suitable data center company to take over its lease at its excess data center facility located in Garner North Carolina, near Raleigh. In 2011, Five 9s began a national marketing effort along with Newmark Knight Frank to fill the vacant 50,000 square foot data center on behalf of Centurylink.