Wyoming Throws Its Cowboy Hat in the Data Center Ring with Grant

February 27, 2014

"In an office with a sheer rock facade in Casper, WY, sits tackle box after tackle box. The main technician started collecting them after multiple trips to Wal-Mart for new gear every time he raced into work on the the servers his company has housed at the Mountain West Technology Networks data center.

The 7,000 square feet of floor space is more than half-filled with servers that store data from companies around the world.

Jim Grenfell, CFO for Mountain West said ""When I first came here, I was just flabbergasted by how nice and great and powerful this is to have right in the middle of Casper. What they've got here in this building has been a well-kept secret.""

The building is quite well hidden with a rock face, and although it's eight-stories high not too many Casperites give it a second thought, but what's inside this secure facility is Mountain West's digital fortress. The company is hoping that one of the reasons clients will use their data center is that it is so well hidden, and they hope with a recent grants from the Wyoming Business Council, should help the area become the technological hub the company is banking on.

If Mountain West is allotted the full amount of the grant: $905,249, it would allow for expansion and hopefully grow the company, adding nine jobs, while the company could upgrade its power sources and add backup systems.

The building is ready for rapid expansion with another 4,500 square feet available, and plans to fill the entire building with servers.

""The ultimate goal is to be able to attract national customers,"" said Jim Moberly, president of Mountain West. ""If we could entice some of the biggies to take that first step, it would make it easier to get future tenants.""

Why Wyoming? Well Wyoming sits in a ""sweet spot"" for lack of natural disasters. While the state gets its fair share of snow storms - it's not sitting on the eastern seaboard that has been hammered by snow storms that have left many company's data centers without power, and the companies without data.

""Now they're looking at moving one rack (of servers) here. That's the foot in the door,"" Moberly said. ""Are you going to move your data to Los Angeles on the fault line, Seattle where the tsunami is going to hit or Miami where the hurricanes are? Or you can move to Casper, where we are connected to all (those cities). That's our play, connectivity and natural disaster avoidance.""

Wyoming established the grant Mountain West hopes to use to defray the cost of electrical power and broadband space for three years. That helps Wyoming data centers compete with the low prices available in places like Los Angeles and New York.

The program has provided $13.25 million in grants to Microsoft and Green House in Cheyenne and Ptolemy in Sheridan. Those data centers are expected to add 101 new jobs and $8.59 million in salaries during the life of the grant.

Microsoft also received $5 million from a pool of money meant to allow the governor to recruit data centers."



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    "In an office with a sheer rock facade in Casper, WY, sits tackle box after tackle box. The main technician started collecting them after multiple trips to Wal-Mart for new gear every time he raced into work on the the servers his company has housed at the Mountain West Technology ...