Iowa is quickly becoming a data center hub for its affordability, location to a large energy substation and availability of fiber optics. The most recent company to put a data center in the state: Facebook (News - Alert).
Facebook has officially announced its plans to build a $1.5 billion data center project in Altoona, Iowa, covering 1.4 million square feet. Facebook says its new data center will be the most advanced in the world.
The data center project will be completed in two $500 million phases, according to TechCrunch. As part of the deal, Facebook is also seeking wind energy production tax credits that would sweeten the pot.
The new Facebook facility will be located in what is quickly becoming a data center corridor in the state due to the area’s access to an extensive interstate fiber-optic cable system that is already installed within the city and running along Interstate Highway 80. It is in proximity to adequate power and water utilities, land is affordable and has low natural-disaster risks. It is accessible to interstate highways.
Google (News - Alert) also plans to expand its data center operations in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a $400 million top-up that would bring the search giant’s total investment in the state to roughly $1.3 billion. Microsoft (News - Alert) has a data center in West Des Moines.
“We’ve got 200 acres, so it’s enough property to scale into three buildings if we need to,” noted Tom Furlong in conjunction with the announcement, VP of site operations for Facebook. “We have data centers on the West Coast in Oregon and on the East Coast in North Carolina, so this gives us something in the geographic center of the country. This location had fiber, power and a shovel-ready site. Iowa has really been actively looking for data centers.”
The facility will feature servers and storage using designs from the Open Commute Project, the open-source hardware initiative organized by Facebook to share and improve server and data center designs. Furlong said the Altoona site will further improve upon the other Facebook sites.
“Each of our projects is somewhat of an evolution,” he said. Altoona will supposedly feature slightly larger data center buildings and accommodate a different arrangement of infrastructure components to improve upon the facility’s overall efficiency.
With the prevalence of the cloud, data centers are increasingly becoming part of the core strategic advantage that companies such as Facebook and Google leverage. It is easy to think of the cloud as, well, in the clouds. But that’s only because of data center deployments such as the new Facebook site.
More areas of the world with both stable geography and a good core network infrastructure will look to tempt the likes of Facebook and other data center companies with incentives. But so far, Iowa is doing quite nicely for itself.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey