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Data Center Alley Gets Monstruous

Every time a photo is posted to Instagram, a data center is born. Or so it seems. Equinix, which kicked off Northern Virginia’s data center boom 17 years ago, announced yesterday it would double its $1B investment


The company, based in Redwood City, CA, broke ground on a 45-acre campus in Ashburn’s Data Center Alley that will have 1M SF in five new data centers. SVP Howard Horowitz, whom we snapped before the groundbreaking, says the timeline will be dictated by demand, but construction will happen over at least 10 years. The company will soon finish its last data center on its current 32-acre campus in Ashburn and start infrastructure work on the new campus (land the company bought a few years ago) next spring. Several ecosystems are fueling the demand for data centers, he says, including the rise in cloud, mobile, content and financial networks. 


The groundbreaking yesterday included Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Rep. Barbara Comstock and Loudoun County Economic Development director Buddy Rizer. The company, which has data centers in 33 markets, launched in Ashburn when it won an RFP for a network neutral peering point to replace MAE-East, a network peering point in Tysons. At the time, Tier 1 carriers and the government were afraid MAE-East would be controlled by a single carrier. Equinix’s first data center migrated all that traffic and became the new peering point. Howard says the data center industry has grown up around Equinix in Ashburn, making it one of the most interconnected points in the world. (Yep, we said world.)