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New standards play role in growth of data centers

John Seelmeyer

Len Gilman recites chapter and verse of TIA 942 these days.

The arcane standards established a couple of years ago by the Telecommunications Industry Association are driving the development of large-scale data centers in northern Nevada.

Gilman, who markets the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center with his developer father, is among those involved with economic development in the region who see a major opportunity for northern Nevada in the TIA 942 standards.

Within the next year or so, he says that about 65 percent of all of the major data centers in the United States will need to be refurbished or relocated to meet the standards.

Northern Nevada, it turns out, fits the bill.

“They all are looking for new locations,” says Gilman. “It would cost more to rehab those facilities than it would cost to build a new one.”

Northern Nevada is at the western edge of the seismic safe zone in the United States California, obviously, is not in the safe zone and the region is relatively safe from weather-related disasters such as hurricanes.

And while data centers operators sometimes are willing to fudge a little on this requirement, most locations in the region are outside of aircraft flight paths.

The region’s low humidity is a plus for efficient operation of data centers, and its low nighttime temperatures dramatically reduce the cost of cooling the centers.

Data center operators also are drawn region’s access to major fiber-optics lines and its business advantages relatively inexpensive property, a good tax environment, a pool of trained workers.

Says Jody Tedesco, the president of data-center operator NJVC, “Reno is a perfect location for a data center.”

NJVC last week launched a data center to serve commercial accounts and government agencies, following on the heels of Apple’s announcement that it plans to build a major data center east of Sparks.

While the Reno Technology Park location selected by Apple is on the other side of Interstate 80 from his Reno Tahoe Industrial Center, developer Lance Gilman strongly supports Apple’s plans.

“It is important that the community get behind the Apple decision,” says Gilman. “God help us if we lose it. And we’re blessed if we land it.”

Gilman says his development has hosted visits from numerous big data-center operators in recent months.

“We’re probably met with eight of the largest data center groups in the nation, virtually every one of the big ones,” he says.

He says the Apple decision validates northern Nevada as a good location in the eyes of executives from other companies who are scouting the area.