Northern Virginia has a long history as a crossroads for the Internet. One of the data centers that has played a key role in the region’s past is now ready for the next phase of growth in Data Center Alley.
Infomart Data Centers, a national wholesale carrier-neutral data center provider, announced today that it has completed the commissioning of a new data center suite at its Ashburn facility, which it purchased several years ago from America Online. The facility was built in 1998 along key fiber routes near the MAE East traffic exchange in Ashburn to house AOL’s email operations. You could think of it as the original “You’ve Got Mail” data center.
After extensive infrastructure updates, Infomart is bringing its new facility online amid a historic data center boom in Northern Virginia, whose history as the Internet’s busiest intersection has made it an essential destination for the largest players in cloud computing and social media.
The new suite at Infomart Ashburn is the first of six 10,000-square-foot data halls in the building, each with flexible power capacity of up to 3 megawatts. When complete, the facility will bring up to 18 MW of capacity to the Northern Virginia market.
“We are excited to announce that we’re open for business in Northern Virginia,” said Dan Ephraim, Vice President, Infomart. “We’ve worked quickly to bring an industry leading facility to market, and consider today the beginning of our commitment to be a leading provider in Northern Virginia.”
New Ownership for Three Infomart Sites
The opening of the Ashburn site comes just three months after the property was acquired by IPI Data Center Partners. In March, the owners of Infomart Data Centers sold the Ashburn building and two other wholesale data center properties to investment firm IPI Data Center Partners. The divestment follows a deal in February in which Infomart sold its flagship Dallas Infomart carrier hotel to Equinix for $800 million.
IPI Data Center Partners has been one of the major new investors in the industry. The company is backed by Iron Point Partners and Iconiq Capital, a wealth manager to Silicon Valley clients. IPI was created in 2016, and has announced a series of investments in wholesale data center projects.
Infomart Ashburn is a unique site with a storied history that is being repurposed to work to the building’s strengths – physical security and sturdy infrastructure. Infomart has invested in a complete refurbishing of the facility’s infrastructure and interior, investing in new cooling towers along with updating the power and cooling plant to achieve aggressive PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) – another metric which didn’t exist in 1998, when the primary concerns were redundancy and speed-to-market.
Because it was built to house both office and data center space, Infomart Ashburn has the flexibility to deliver secure rooms of different sizes. In addition to the main data halls, the building has spaces that can be configured as highly-secure, hardened and fortified rooms with enhanced access control and RF mitigation capabilities. It also meets FISMA, NIST, DIACAP, NISPOM and ICD 705 government compliance mandates.
Built for Sturdiness
The facility was constructed prior to the Uptime Institute’s Tier Ratings, but was engineered to deliver extraordinary uptime, with features like a 30-foot concrete wall around its utility yard, a steel T-bar concrete roof, and infrastructure redundancy that would likely have exceeded the Uptime Tier IV rating. Physical security features include berms, vehicle arresting cables, perimeter fencing, and a gated entrance.
As such, the building offers a different profile than the huge hyperscale data centers springing up in its neighborhood. Infomart’s sweet spot in Ashburn will likely be the federal sector and security-conscious enterprise and cloud clients, with systems integrators and regulated enterprises among the key tenant classes.
Infomart Data Centers was created in 2014 by ASB Real Estate, which owned both the Infomart and Fortune Data Centers, a wholesale data center specialist based in San Jose that also operated a property in Hillsboro, Oregon. ASB merged the companies under the banner of Infomart Data Centers. When it acquired the three wholesale facilities earlier this year, IPI also acquired Infomart’s management company,