Ghost Systems plans underground data center |

Ghost Systems plans underground data center

Rob Sabo

Northern Nevada’s image as a hub for high technology companies took a large leap forward last week with the announcement by Ghost Systems that it was locating its headquarters operations and a state-of-the-art data center in Reno.

Ghost Systems already has leased two floors at 200 S. Virginia Street, Chief Executive Officer Don Ritzman says, and the company expects to break ground on a 50,000-square-foot data center at Reno Technology Center in first quarter of 2015. Ghost Systems says it will invest as much as $210 million, including capital expenditures of $180 million, to build out the data center — and Ritzman says Ghost Systems already has nailed down full financing from a joint-venture partner.

“We are very fortunate,” he says. “They have committed all of the funds.”

Ritzman says the new data center is scheduled to be a subterranean Tier 4 data operation designed to host mission-critical servers and provide the highest level of guaranteed availability.

The center will consist of two 25,000-square-foot modular buildings that will be completely underground in order to provide better shielding and cooling. The equipment inside also will be protected by faraday cages, or metallic enclosures, to shield it from electromagnetic pulses.

Ghost Systems still is finalizing a deal with a general contracting firm to build the facility. The biggest challenge with building an underground facility is maintaining the integrity of the structure as it is being backfilled, Ritzman says.

Ghost Systems was founded in January and is a spinoff of Absolute ID, a company Ritzman has run since 2009. Its primary markets are governments, financial services and the enterprise market space, where it would store and protect the intellectual property and daily intelligence of corporations.

“We formed Ghost to take the technology we vetted in the government space and commercialize it so that everybody could use it.”

Ritzman says Ghost Systems provides “perfectly secure cyber protection.” It does so by using a composition of many different types of cyber-protection technologies and enmeshing them in computing ecosystems.

“We have data-streaming protection, we have data-at-rest protection, and we have computer hardware protection so that the ecosystem in its entirety is protected,” Ritzman says.

Reno works well for Ghost Systems for several reasons, Ritzman adds. The state’s business-friendly climate won out over 20 other locations, including Texas, the United Kingdom, Amsterdam and Curacao.

“Reno is geographically perfect. The communication network infrastructure, as well as inexpensive power, water — resources you need to run a data center efficiently, they are all right here. Add that with the beauty of the area: It’s easy to bring quality, tech-savvy people to the area.”

Ghost Systems plans to hire up to 150 employees as its ramps up operations in northern Nevada. It primarily seeks computer scientists, engineers, computer technicians and people with masters-level degrees. Average wages are expected to be $40 per hour.

“We have to have a workforce that is properly educated and tech savvy,” he says. “This area has a great technology workforce.”

Ghost Systems was welcomed into the region at a standing-room-only press event at Atlantis last week that was attended by Reno businesspeople, civic leaders and Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“This facility will serve customers across the globe, further demonstrating that Reno is becoming a global hub to the digital world,” Sandoval said. “Companies like this look at a lot of different locations to see what best fits their needs. They chose northern Nevada for their home and felt it was the best place where they could find the workforce and make a $200 million investment.”