RagingWire Breaking Ground on New Ashburn Data Center

Dec. 5, 2016
RagingWire will begin construction this month on its VA3 data center, which will anchor a huge new campus in Ashburn, Virginia. The company will invest $160 million in VA3, which will be the first of six huge data centers at the site.

The building boom continues in Data Center Alley. RagingWire will begin construction this month on its VA3 data center, which will anchor a huge new campus in Ashburn, Virginia. The company will invest $160 million in VA3, which will be the first of six huge data centers planned for the RagingWire expansion campus in Ashburn.

The new campus provides RagingWire with room for long-term growth in the hottest data center market on the planet. Ashburn is the heart of Northern Virginia’s “Data Center Alley,” where nearly all the industry’s leading players are building new facilities to meet unprecedented demand from cloud computing providers.

It also illustrates the benefits of RagingWire’s relationship with its parent company, NTT Communications, a global telecom company with the financial strength to keep pace with the fast-moving data center market.

RagingWire operates two data centers in Ashburn, and in 2012 acquired 76.5 acres of land at the intersection of Waxpool and Farmwell roads, adjacent to major data canter campuses operated by Equinix and DuPont Fabros. VA3 will be a 245,000 square foot facility with 16 megawatts of power capacity, and is scheduled to come online by the end of 2017. RagingWire and NTT announced the expansion at the 2016 Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure, and Operations Management Conference being held in Las Vegas.

Going Greenfield

“The Ashburn VA3 Data Center raises the bar for data center colocation in the largest data center market in the world,” said George Macricostas, Chairman, CEO and founder of RagingWire Data Centers. “VA3 offers mission-critical performance, flexible configurations for hyperscale cloud and enterprise deployments, exceptional customer amenities and global integration with NTT Com’s growing portfolio of over 140 data centers around the world.”

The lounge area at the entrance of the RagingWire VA2 data center in Ashburn, Virginia, featuring the logo for the NTT Nexcenter data center brand. (Image: RagingWire)

In its first two Ashburn facilities, RagingWire built its data center infrastructure inside existing powered shells. VA3 will be a greenfield project, customized from the ground up with a new design to support RagingWire’s vision for Internet-scale campuses in major markets across the United States.

VA3 will feature multiple wholesale vaults (data halls) with between 2 megawatts and 4 megawatts of turn-key data center space, as well as a colocation area to house multi-rack cages.

The facility features an updated electrical design that builds on RagingWire’s 2N+2 power delivery architecture, which offers customers a range of the dedicated power resiliency configurations for customers that purchase an entire vault. The campus will be supported by electricity from Dominion Virginia Power, three diverse fiber entrances, a gated entrance and perimeter fence, and carrier-neutral network connectivity services to other data centers and cloud providers.

The Cloud Made Real

RagingWire President Douglas Adams says the new campus and design position the company for the next phase of cloud growth.

“We’re starting to see cloud become very, very real,” said Adams. “The whole IT world is changing. Organizations are adopting cloud at an unprecedented rate. Ashburn, with its extensive fiber and cost effective power, has become a strategic location for the cloud which is driving significant absorption.”

RagingWire’s three Ashburn facilities will provide a data center footprint of over 500,000 square feet of space and 44.4 megawatts of power in Northern Virginia. When completed, VA3 will boost the company’s U.S. footprint to 1.5 million square feet of data center space, including campuses in Sacramento and Dallas and TX1 in Dallas. NTT Communications also operates a global data center services platform under the Nexcenter brand.

“NTT Communications is proud to be investing in RagingWire’s VA3 Data Center and Ashburn Data Center Campus,” said Tetsuya Shoji, President and CEO of NTT Communications. “Virginia is the top data center market in the world and a strategic location for NTT Com as we expand our data center capacity. RagingWire’s VA3 Data Center will be a key platform for the NTT family of companies to deliver global information and communications (ICT) solutions that enable our customers to digitalize their businesses.”

Why Ashburn is Booming

Northern Virginia is perhaps the most connected piece of Internet real estate in the United States, housing servers for Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace and about 2,900 other technology companies. Ashburn is the epicenter of the data center building boom, with active projects under development by most of the largest cloud builders.

Ashburn sits atop the world’s densest intersection of fiber networks, making it an ideal location to store and distribute data. Loudoun County is home to more than 60 data centers, with 6 million square feet of data center space and another 4 million square feet under development. Nearby Prince William County says it hosts an additional 3 million square feet of data centers.

Northern Virginia is on pace to add 145 megawatts of data center capacity in 2016, up from 62 megawatts in 2016, according to Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). The leading customers driving the building boom include three major cloud players: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Oracle Corp.

The RagingWire VA2 data center in Ashburn, Virginia. (Image: RagingWire Data Centers)

“Virginia is the top data center market in the world,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Together, NTT and RagingWire are bolstering Virginia’s leadership in the data center and high technology sectors, supporting a diverse economy in the Commonwealth, generating tax revenues, and creating valuable job opportunities. I recently met with company executives in Tokyo on my Pacific Rim Marketing Mission, and look forward to strengthening this important relationship as we build the new Virginia economy.”[clickToTweet tweet=”Governor Terry McAuliffe: Virginia is the top data center market in the world.” quote=”Governor Terry McAuliffe: Virginia is the top data center market in the world.”]

The investment in the VA3 Data Center by RagingWire and NTT Communications will leverage Virginia’s exemptions from sales and use taxes on data center equipment, which has resulted in millions of dollars of savings for RagingWire customers and encouraged companies to establish or expand their IT and business operations in Virginia.

Construction Spreads Across Northern Virginia

Those tax incentives have amplified the construction activity in Ashburn, where new data center projects are underway by Digital Realty, Equinix, Sabey Corp., Amazon, Infomart Data Centers and DuPont Fabros Technology. There’s plenty of activity in surrounding towns, as CoreSite is building in nearby Reston, while CyrusOne is beginning work on a new campus in Sterling. In Prince Williams County, Iron Mountain is building a campus in Manassas, and Amazon is building new facilities in Manassas and Haymarket.

With its 2012 land acquisition, RagingWire was among the earliest companies to plan for the next phase of cloud construction.

“Most of the large chunks of land in Data Center Alley in Ashburn have been taken,” said Adams, RagingWire’s president. “There’s not a whole lot of land left. The smarter providers have grabbed large chunks of available space. One of the reasons we bought an 80-acre parcel is that we wanted room to expand.”

Having lots of runway for future growth is important. But in addition to being the most active data center market, Ashburn is also the most competitive. Virtually every major provider is building and marketing new data center space, giving customers lots of options. Adams is confident that there will be plenty of  business for RagingWire, as well as its many rivals.

“Competition makes you strong, he said. “In Northern Virginia, competition has made us a stronger company.”

About the Author

Rich Miller

I write about the places where the Internet lives, telling the story of data centers and the people who build them. I founded Data Center Knowledge, the data center industry's leading news site. Now I'm exploring the future of cloud computing at Data Center Frontier.

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