Infomart has completed commissioning of the first of six 10,000 square foot wholesale data center suites in its Ashburn, Virginia facility. Each suite will have flexible power capacity of up to 3 megawatts. While Infomart Ashburn is new, the building has a rich, storied history.
The data center was originally built in 1998 by AOL, a company that had a major hand in putting Ashburn on the technology map. Infomart purchased the facility from AOL a few years ago and set about refurbishing and upgrading the guts inside the building’s incredible bones.
Picture this: it’s the go-go 90s and AOL is flush with cash. The unspoken, established rules as to what’s reasonable fortifications and reasonable cost to build haven’t been set in concrete yet. So, AOL sets this facility in an ungodly amount of concrete, to the dismay of drywall enthusiasts everywhere. It spends $17M per megawatt to build a concrete fortress. AOL was dominant and seemed unstoppable at the time, so it spared no expense future-proofing the facility beyond tier IV standards. The facility housed its all-important email platform.
Like a Nicholas Cage mansion following his performance in the Wicker Man, the AOL data center had to be abandoned following questionable choices on the part of its owner. The data center sat idle for several years. Infomart Data Centers saw the opportunity, acquiring the facility as its entry point into a booming Ashburn market.
The mechanical and electrical systems have been completely overhauled. It can offer 2N+1 critical power redundancy, hot aisle containment, and there are redundant meet-me-rooms. A building management system is in place to deliver real-time Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metrics to customers.
While demand is healthy enough to sustain the steady stream of supply coming into the Ashburn market, it’s a tough competitive landscape given all the providers there. Going down the list of usual suspects, providers are either present or building. An unprecedented construction boom in the market over the last several years means wholesale providers have to differentiate their offering to thrive. The Infomart Ashburn facility definitely stands out.
Potential customers in heavily regulated industries will find this an attractive, unique proposition. The facility meets FISMA, NIST, DIACAP and ICD 705. Infomart Ashburn also plans on pursuing multiple certifications like HIPAA for healthcare.
Infomart was recently the subject in a game of M&A musical chairs. The building most closely tied to its namesake, Infomart Dallas, was acquired by Equinix for $800m. The rest of the portfolio and management team went to IPI data centers in March of this year. Infomart Ashburn represents a rebirth of sorts for the company, in addition to the data center.
The company’s other 2 data centers are in Hillsboro, Oregon and San Jose, California. The 3 data centers total 665,000 square feet with 27.2MW of capacity in place and 29.7MW expansion potential.