No End to Ashburn Data Center Boom

More than 40 data centers are located in Loudoun County, Va., the majority of which are located in “Data Center Alley,” which boasts a high concentration of data centers and supports about half of the country’s Internet traffic. With more than 4.5 million square feet of data center space available and a projected 10 million square feet by 2021, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, Ashburn data centers continue to lead the pack. As Ashburn becomes the site of some of the industry’s most progressive energy-saving initiatives and connectivity infrastructure developments, there’s no doubt that the region will continue to be a market to watch.

Washington Post contributor Caitlin Gibson recently wrote about the economic “banner year” experienced in Loudoun County, largely due to continued investment by data center owners and operators and technology solutions developers. In doing so, the companies in the region have created a model business environment and community where competition is equitably balanced with allied developments that contribute to the country’s bright technological future. Loudoun County’s fiscal 2013 “wins” – companies that either started or augmented their Loudoun presence – rose 47 percent over the previous fiscal year. More than 2.6 million square feet of commercial real estate was created during the year, while more than 55 companies put over $465 million into the expansion of their businesses.

The growth of the data center real estate market and aggressive installation of new technological innovations have provided vast trickle-down advantages for the county, ranging from sterling population growth that added more than 142,000 residents from 2000-2010 to posting the top job increases in the nation and improvements in Metrorail transportation, Gibson wrote. It’s even created benefits for farmers, as the county’s economic officials have been able to implement a rural economic strategy that endeavors for a twofold increase in the agricultural business over the next 10 years.

“This was a very good year, but we’ve been fortunate to see growth every year since the dawn of the data center expansion,” Buddy Rizer, acting director of the county’s Department of Economic Development, told Gibson. “This past year was especially good for us because, while we saw continued growth in the data center area, we are also starting to see the comeback of other areas, too,” referring to growth in the manufacturing, cybersecurity, and aviation and aerospace sectors.

Ashburn Data Center Research
It can be hard to keep track of the flurry of additions, expansions and innovations in the region. Here are three of the data center providers spearheading growth in the area:

Equinix: The California-based carrier-neutral data center provider and International Business Exchange operator currently offers three data centers in the Ashburn/Metro D.C. region, and recently completed its eighth project in the area, a 230,000-square foot, $79 million data center for lease launched earlier this year, according to the Washington Post. The company has also been continually lauded for their commitment to developing green energy initiatives, a current priority in the Ashburn data center region. Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tony Howard recently spoke to the win-win-win scenario that eco-friendly innovation offers for data center operators, tenants and the county itself.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in the sustainability area. ‘How you can save green by growing green,'” Howard said. “You can improve your business operations and save money and appeal to employees and companies who care about this.”

Digital Realty Trust: The San Francisco-headquartered provider, currently the top data center operator in the D.C. Metro region, is also adding their eighth project to the area – a 400,000-square-foot, $150 million, 22 data center campus currently in its second phase of construction, the Post reported.

RagingWire: While the colocation provider currently offers just one 150,000-square-foot campus in “Data Center Alley” and recently acquired 78 acres for further construction, the company’s innovations in data center design optimized for energy efficiency and availability have made waves in the industry. Their Virginia data center offers 100 percent availability through the provider’s patented “2N+2” redundancy. The company also announced that it will begin using a reclaimed water loop to drive down water usage and improve onsite cooling techniques. The reclaimed water loop will be able to utilize onsite well water, reclaimed water and utility potable water to handle the facility’s cooling load.

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