For NTT Global Data Centers Americas, adding data centers one at a time is not enough. This week NTT Global opens for business in two new markets with launch events in Chicago and Hillsboro, Oregon. By the end of this year, the company plans to open additional new campuses in Santa Clara and Phoenix.
The building boom is the realization of a vision that has been percolating since 2013, when NTT acquired a majority stake in U.S. data center specialist RagingWire. The capital strength of NTT has allowed the company to build a data center platform spanning the major markets in the U.S.
“2021 is going to be a year like no other for our division, and opening these two new data centers is just the beginning,” said Douglas Adams, the CEO of NTT Global Data Centers Americas. “These efforts underline our commitment to put our clients at the center and bring data center services to key data center markets across the Americas.”
It’s been a year since NTT Global Data Centers launched its consolidated brand at the PTC 20 conference, with a pledge to invest $7 billion on building new data centers around the world. In the weeks immediately following the event, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, creating a challenging operating environment for multi-national firms.
The Americas team forged ahead with plans to add new capacity. On Thursday, NTT Global Data Centers Americas will show off its two new 36-megawatt data centers in Chicago and Hillsboro with a virtual tour event.
“Not only will we continue to expand both the Hillsboro and Chicago campuses, but we’re also looking forward to our new Silicon Valley campus, expansion in Ashburn, as well as breaking ground in Phoenix,” said Adams.
Going Virtual for Launch Events
The virtual format for the marketing launches is a reminder of how the pandemic has driven new approaches to selling data center space.
“I think we all scrambled at the beginning (of the pandemic),” said Bruno Berti, Vice President of Product Management at NTT Global Data Centers Americas. “We’ve invested in virtual tours, and our marketing team has put together tours that are really phenomenal.”
Berti said the virtual tours, which will be showcased in Thursday’s launch event, have become an essential tool in helping customers assess how a new data center suits their requirements. Virtual tours now serve as prospects’ introduction to the facility, setting up follow-up discussions to answer questions. The site tour is always available, but requires careful planning.
“Customers still need to walk through a data center before they buy,” said Berti. “Our team has really done a phenomenal job of creating COVID-19 protocols and making sure that we have rigorous testing and policies and social distancing in place to protect the data center for our people and our clients.”
Strong leasing in the second half of 2020 has re-established Greater Chicago as one of the hot national data center destinations. Service providers credit the state of Illinois’ passage of tax incentives that exempt data centers from paying state and local sales taxes on some equipment.
“I think a lot of the demand is sparked by the incentives that (the state of Illinois) passed in 2019,” said Berti. “Most of the prospects that are looking in that market want to know that those incentives are available to them.”
The 36MW NTT Global Chicago data center sits on a 19-acre campus in Itasca in the Suburban Chicago market, about 25 minutes from the O’Hare International Airport. When finished, the campus will feature two data centers providing 72MW of critical IT load. That provides plenty of room for expansion for growing customers.
“We’ve been getting some early feedback from clients who like the fact that we have the master plan of two buildings being able to accommodate 72 megawatts,” said Berti. “They’re asking a lot more now than about that expansion capability.”
Hillsboro and Beyond
The Pacific Northwest region is poised for substantial growth over the next several years, and developers clearly see the Portland data center market as a future hot spot for hyperscale and enterprise facilities.
The region benefits from a favorable cost environment — including a prominent enterprise zone and Oregon’s business-friendly tax policies—as well as a climate that’s ideal for keeping servers cool. That’s attractive to sustainability-aware enterprises, who also like the region’s ample supply of renewable energy.
The 36 MW Hillsboro data center is situated on a 47-acre campus, with a master plan to 126 MWs of capacity and more than 1 million square feet of data center space. The Hillsboro campus also earned a Level 3 certification from the Cleaner Air Oregon program.
The Portland data center market benefits from the active technology cluster in the emerging data center district in Hillsboro, which offers favorable economics and ready access to fiber rings that connect facilities to trans-Pacific subsea cables that land on the Oregon coast, enabling data traffic to fast-growing markets around the Pacific Rim.
This is a particular opportunity for NTT, which owns the Pacific Crossing PC1 subsea cable, which carries network traffic between Japan and the Pacific Northwest. The NTT Global Data Centers Hillsboro campus will offer Subsea Connect, a trans-Pacific network service offering dedicated connectivity across PC1.
“We’ll be basically selling ‘subsea-as-a-service” in 10-gig increments to customers wanting connectivity back to AsiaPac,” said Berti, who said there has been strong interest in the new facility. “We consider the Hillsboro launch pretty successful, since we’ve had a pre-lease and pretty good pipeline for that market.”
The 2021 data center launches in the U.S. are part of a larger global construction program for parent NTT.
“We’re excited about the strength our global data centers division brings to our NTT clients and partners,” said Ryuichi Matsuo, NTT Ltd.’s Executive Vice President for the Global Data Centers division. “NTT delivers premium data center platforms around the world, giving our clients the power to deploy advanced services at the right place, with the right performance and support. The full stack services in our data centers are critical to our overall infrastructure, and we’re not slowing down. In 2021, we’ll continue to expand in Indonesia, Germany, UK and Spain as well as in Americas.”