Armani Jackson, Managing Editor
Pierce College Puyallup will welcome a new neighbor in the form of the first transpacific data hub on the West Coast. Centeris is a data center company keen on providing worldwide connections and is in the process of building a location in Puyallup. Their headquarters are located in Bellevue, and this new Puyallup building is comprised of 86 acres. The hub will serve both local and international companies.
Centeris owns and operates environments that sustain machines, and this site will be set up to run year-round.
“A computer system (and) networking equipment require very different conditions (compared to humans),” Centeris Director Simon Lee said. “They’re not necessarily compatible with what people need. A data center fundamentally provides it. We do what we term ‘Mission Critical.’ These are things that cannot go down (and) always (have to) be working.”
Lee said Puyallup was selected for multiple reasons. The site was originally a semiconductor fabrication plant, which aids the building process because plants are typically required to have certain standards. They require immense amounts of high-quality power and have to be physically stable, meaning no environmental disruptions. The plant also has to be in an area free of pollutants.
Adding to the conductor’s preset conditions, the raw infrastructure was already in place. Also, Puyallup is relatively in the middle between the Seattle/Northern Washington locations and areas in Northern Oregon, Lee said. This midpoint is vital because the subsea cables connecting the company to Asia runs along that route.
The center would serve both local and IT-intensive businesses who need a lot of power, as well as some in California. Centeris also plans to help U.S. companies who are largely involved with Asia or vice versa, Lee said.
“Our vision for what we’re doing isn’t a bunch of buildings and power,” Lee said. “It’s about connecting different parts of the world.”
The number of employees working on site hasn’t been decided yet, but there will be enough to sustain the 24/7 operation.
“We’re frustrated enough as individuals (so) imagine companies,” Lee said. “You cannot fail your clients so when you’re talking about ‘Mission Critical’ operations, it’s exactly that. The term comes from things like NASA (and) it has to work.”
The site is measured in terms of power, meaning to guess the number of servers that could be on the location would be calculated by determining how many running servers could be accounted for on a campus that has 50 megawatts of power. If need be, the site can be expanded in extra 25 megawatt increments. For perspective, one megawatt can power 1,000 homes.
Lee anticipates growth in the use of the site as far as clients and employees go, but it’s more difficult to scope how the data or facility will expand.
“We look at (growth) not as day-to-day (or) week-to-week,” Lee said. “We look at it as how important it is to connect (the) U.S. to Asia.”
Lee said the site will have little to no impact on Pierce, but has the potential to influence the city of Puyallup greatly.
“Our clients are coming in and we’re drawing in companies from (both) the country and world,” Lee said. “When (clients) start to do site selection and put equipment in, they have people that are coming, so they’re using local services. Ultimately, on a more full-time basis, they’re determining where to put offices and people. We anticipate that if the transpacific hub evolves like we believe it will, the entire region will be more visited and eventually more developed.”
Centeris has large plans, Lee said, and is excited to be a part of what they see as the future.
As of April 10, the transpacific hub and one of the data centers located on the South Hill campus are fully functional. The hub is a platform that evolves, so it’ll continue to grow as more clients partner with Centeris, Lee said.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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