As it seeks to build data centers optimized for the future, Aligned has always led with density. That’s again the case as the company commences an expansion of its new Ashburn data center, the company said this week.
Aligned says it will add 30 megawatts of new capacity, citing “recent success in the market as well as growing customer demand.” The expansion announcement comes just five months after the company opened the Ashburn site with a 12-megawatt first phase. The campus is planned to feature 1 million square feet of data center and office space and 180 megawatts of power capacity.
Significantly, Aligned said much of the new capacity will be enabled by increasing the power density in its data halls, a feature it calls “Expand on Demand.” The company’s cooling technology allows customers to add power capacity instead of more space, housing up to 50kW per cabinet in IT equipment. This ability to scale in place without having to reconfigure existing infrastructure is key to Aligned’s value proposition.
“This gives Aligned’s customers an ability to grow freely and without risk inside of an Aligned facility,” the company said.
Northern Virginia is the most active data center market, home to more than 100 data centers and more than 10 million square feet of data center space. Cloud platforms covet proximity to “Data Center Alley” in Ashburn, the world’s busiest Internet intersection. The Aligned project sits at a major intersection for both power and fiber, less than a mile from the Equinix campus in Ashburn where the world’s major networks meet.
Ashburn a ‘Critical Growth Market’
Aligned’s success is another sign that leasing may be picking up in Northern Virginia, saw slower activity in 2019 as hyperscale operators digested the capacity they leased during a record year in 2018. Recent results from other Ashburn providers suggest business is picking up in early 2020, an impression that is reinforced by Aligned’s expansion.
“Ashburn continues to be a critical growth market and we’re excited to embark on delivering the next phase of capacity in ‘Data Center Alley’,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned. “The sophistication of customers, as well as the level of development and demand in the region, require unprecedented speed to market and solution versatility that pushes beyond the boundaries of traditional data center construction and operational methodologies. Designed to be truly adaptive and future-proof, the Aligned Ashburn campus attracts a broad range of customers and requirements, from the standard-density enterprise all the way up to the highest-density hyperscale organization.”
The first building at Aligned Ashburn spans 368,755 square feet and will support 60 megawatts of capacity. The 12-megawatt first phase, which includes two new data halls, was completed in less than six months. Aligned doesn’t provide public information on customer expansions and capacity planning, but said it is “already well down the path of getting our next site solidified for construction.”
Vertical Cooling Expansion
Each Aligned data hall includes a cooling wall featuring vertical stacks of its Delta Cube cooling units, which are about 4 feet wide and house multiple fan coils, allowing them to cool workloads of up to 50 kW per cabinet. The wall also contains space that allows for additional rows of Delta Cube units to be installed, providing additional capacity within the data hall. (For a deeper dive, see Case Study: Aligned Ashburn Data Center Campus)
Aligned’s growth has been supported by the financial strength of Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, the huge infrastructure fund that is the company’s leading backer (BlueMountain Capital and Goldman Sachs are also investors). The entry of Macquarie and other large global investors is changing the way that data centers are built, powered and funded. Aligned wants to be on the front edge of that trend, and is tapping Macquarie’s expertise and connections to innovate in its supply chain, seeking to build faster and more efficiently.
In October the company lined up a $495 million secured credit facility from investors led by Goldman Sachs, which will fund data center expansions across Aligned’s footprint. The backing of equity investors Macquarie and BlueMountain Capital Management provide resources to take advantage of future expansion opportunities.”