A new data center in South Hill is providing industrial-sized communications between Asia and the Pacific Northwest.
The partnership between Wave, a broadband services company, and Centeris, an IT infrastructure provider, represents the first transpacific broadband data and fiber hub in the U.S.
The facility’s clients are being kept confidential but initial customers include gaming, content, technology, logistics, e-commerce, and financial service companies.
“Performance and efficiency,” is how Centeris director Simon Lee summed up the new center during a media tour Thursday.
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“We are aggregating a lot of the traffic that comes out of the United States and into Asia and from Asia into the Unites States. Think of it as an airport hub,” Lee said.
The Transpacific Hub connects what will be a 56,000-square-foot server farm with other data hubs in Asia via fiber optic cables.
“Traffic from Asia is growing exponentially,” Lee said.
More than 20 of the undersea cables now connect the U.S. West Coast with points in Asia and Pacific Ocean islands. The nearest cable to the center travels between Tokyo and Mukilteo. It’s then connected to the South Hill facility via land-based cables.
On Thursday only 10 percent of the floor at the data center was filled with servers. The pods with blinking green lights bore the name of a prominent gaming system.
“This is what the cloud really looks like,” said data center manager Jim Vane.
The collaboration plays on the strengths of both Centeris and Wave, their representatives said.
“Wave can bring the spokes while Centeris can bring the hub,” said Paul Koss, senior vice president for Wave.
The 86-acre campus is built on a bedrock hill, above the flood plain. The building is a repurposed 1996 structure that has served various high-tech purposes through the years. Piers were pile driven into the earth. The data center is a building within a building, structurally separate to reduce vibrations.
The facility is a LEED gold-certified structure which means it’s near the top for lessening its environmental impact. It uses no mechanical heating or cooling, relying instead on complex air and heat exchanges between the outside environment and the heat generated by the servers.
“It takes full advantage of the Pacific Northwest (climate),” Vane said.
The Transpacific Hub employs 14 people. It has 50 megawatts of dedicated power. Rows of batteries provide an alternative inline power source. If electricity from the grid should be cut longer than nine seconds, in-house generators will come online. The facility has 300,000 square feet of space for future server farms.