Hidden in the trees in South Hill, just a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Meridian, is a large, two-building, 376,000 square-foot data center, called the Transpacific Hub. It officially came online today.
The data center — a partnership between Bellevue-based companies Wave Broadband and IT infrastructure provider Centeris — is the first of its kind on the West Coast, able to store and process data, instead of being a simple throughway like other centers. From the Hub, Wave’s fiber network can send data through more than 80 other data centers along the West Coast, as well as overseas through underwater cables.
Centeris Director Simon Lee said that demand has been growing for data centers due to the increasing activity between Asia and the United States. The goal of the Transpacific Hub, then, is to harness that demand and act as an aggregator for data being shipped through the Pacific. Think of it like a major port — only instead of containerships, the product is sent through wires.
Currently, only 10 percent of the 54,000 square-foot room housing server cabinets is taken up by companies, but more are on the way, Lee said. Calling the Hub an “industrial data center,” he said target customers will typically be larger enterprises, with a focus on technology, logistics, finance, e-commerce and gaming companies. (Centeris would not disclose which companies were contracted.) The goal, of course, is to fill the whole room with server cabinets, but that will be done on a customer-by-customer basis.
Lee said Wave Broadband was chosen as a partner because it had the right combination of value and fiber infrastructure in place to connect with other data centers along the West Coast, and was actively building more fiber at a furious pace. Bigger companies like Comcast and CenturyLink, he reasoned, didn’t have the right network to do what he wanted the Hub to achieve.
“Integrating the power of Centeris with the connectivity of Wave, we are uniquely positioned to provide enterprise, government and wholesale customers from throughout the Pacific region with access to a world-class, Seattle-area facility that can also leverage data centers elsewhere or provide needed redundancy,” said Patrick Knorr, Wave EVP of business, in a statement. “Our alliance provides clients a range of connectivity options, combined with scalable data center capacity, to ensure systems availability and architectural flexibility, all at competitive prices.”
In a sense, choosing Puyallup was a case of serendipity. The 86-acre campus was originally built in 1996 for a computer chip manufacturer, but the industry was sent overseas before the business could get started. It sat vacant for years until Benaroya Co. bought the property in 2008 and remodeled it in 2011. It happened to be the perfect setup, Lee said, for a data center, which requires ample space for cooling systems.
Looking at the future, Lee said Centeris will look at building more data centers. In addition, the Puyallup campus has room to grow, with over one million square feet of buildable space.