Over the past few years, data centers have been cropping up across the county and the globe to support a range of processes in the consumer and enterprise markets.
“What you are doing on your phone today doesn’t just happen without a data center somewhere,” noted Bo Bond, managing director of real estate firm JLL.
However, few regions have seen the uptick in IT activity that Texas has experienced this year. Throughout 2015, a number of big names in the tech industry have begun data center projects in the state, increasing their investments in Texas computing facilities.
Facebook’s Fort Worth Data Center
While there are several data center construction initiatives currently taking place, many pale in comparison to Facebook’s North Fort Worth data center. The massive 750,000-square-foot facility is valued at nearly $1 billion, cementing Facebook’s investment and presence in the state. Facebook announced plans for the facility earlier in the year, kicking off construction in early July.
Construction will take place in phases. Facebook launched the project with a 250,000-square-foot build, which will be expanded as construction continues, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Before choosing the Fort Worth site on Park Vista Boulevard, Facebook considered more than 200 other locations, according to local ABC affiliate WFAA 8. The company will benefit from almost $150 million in tax breaks for the Texas data center, and officials hope that having a big name like Facebook in the area will attract other technology companies.
State Farm’s Richardson Data Center
State Farm also announced plans for a Texas data center toward the beginning of the year. According to The Dallas Business Journal, while many details of the project are still under wraps, the data center will be a multi-million dollar structure built in Richardson.
Once completed, the data center will be a one-story, 129,180-square-foot building situated on 15 acres. Its main purpose will be data storage and access for the company’s nearby regional office campus in the same city.
HP Invests in Wind Energy
Over the summer, HP increased its investment in Texas, where it already operates several data center facilities. According to GreenBiz, the company signed a long-term contract for sustainable power to support its five computing facilities. The 12-year agreement will provide HP with 112 megawatts of wind energy from the Texas SunEdison wind farm.
Currently, the company owns and operates more than 1 million square feet of data center space in Texas. Its 112 megawatts of wind power will support 100 percent of its data center operations in the state, helping HP to reach its goals for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions five years ahead of schedule. Overall, the amount of green energy purchased by HP is equivalent to that used to power more than 42,000 homes annually.
Dallas-Fort Worth: Top City for Data Center Demands
According to a report from JLL, these recent projects have helped to make Texas an increasingly popular location within the technology industry. In fact, JLL researchers found that the Dallas-Fort Worth area is now within the top five U.S. markets for the data center service demands. Even with these projects underway, facility operators are having a hard time keeping up with data center service needs.
“Data center providers and owners are developing at a rapid rate and yet the supply is being eaten up faster,” Bond pointed out. “There is an undersupply of available data center space in the market today.”
Much of these demands are being spurred by technology requirements within the local insurance, banking and financial service industries. These sectors are some of the fastest growing in the area. In response, several organizations are looking to establish a presence in the state.
“There are a number of people taking down land positions so they can be up and running in the third and fourth quarter in 2016,” Bond said. “There is a correlation between the continued addition of corporate and regional headquarters and job growth here. The spec data center operators are coming to Texas to be able to capture that business.”
According to these expert predictions, Texas will continue to see considerable data center expansion into 2016 and beyond.