Can Salt Lake City support large wholesale data centers? Aligned Energy believes that it can, and this week announced plans to open a 50 megawatt data center in the suburb of West Jordan.
The Salt Lake City suburbs are home to several huge single-tenant data centers, including a cutting-edge eBay facility in West Jordan powered by Bloom Energy fuel cells, and the massive NSA server farm in Bluffdale.
The multi-tenant data center market in Utah has consisted primarily of smaller colocation centers, with no facilities larger than 11 megawatts.
Aligned Energy is taking things to another level of scale, retrofitting an existing 300,000 square foot building. The first phase will feature a 75,000 square foot data hall, 15,000 square feet of office space, and 9,700 square feet of technical burn-in and storage space. The facility will be the third data center for Aligned, which has existing projects in the Phoenix and Dallas markets.
“Our new data center in West Jordan addresses the needs of cloud providers, enterprise companies and our existing customers that require an adaptive, future-proof data center solution in and around the greater Salt Lake area,” said Aligned Energy CEO, Andrew Schaap. “We are delighted to expand our portfolio to a new market and serve the region with an incredibly efficient and highly reliable data center platform. We continue to see strong demand for our services in Phoenix, Dallas and now Salt Lake.”
Scaling up in Salt Lake
The largest existing multi-tenant data center player in the Salt Lake City market is DataBank, which operates three facilities it acquired from C7 Data Centers last year, with about 21 megawatts of total commissioned power. The other provider with a significant presence is Flexential, which has seven data centers in the Salt Lake City region, with a total footprint of about 95,000 square feet of space.
Aligned will retrofit a former Fairchild Semiconductors chip fabrication facility in West Jordan, which sits on a 60-acre site that includes a dedicated utility substation.
Retired semiconductor factories have provided retrofit opportunities for data center developers, who can often take advantage of existing power and cooling infrastructure that supported the fab. Fortune Data Centers, QTS Data Centers and Intel have all created data centers from former chip fabs.
Aligned was founded in 2015 with a focus on solving capacity management challenges, pursuing innovation in cooling and the supply chain. The company launched its first data center in Plano, Texas in 2016 and its second site in Phoenix in May 2017. Aligned describes its design as an “adaptive data center” and says it can support a PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) of 1.15 in any climate. Building its first two data centers in warm climates showcases the adaptability of Aligned’s technology.
Its design enables tenants to put low-density and high-density racks next to one another in a data hall, a configuration which is often problematic. Aligned says its technology can cool cabinets housing up to 50kW per rack in IT equipment.