This week we have news of QTS Data Centers plans for a huge campus in Georgia, making headlines that it is the largest data center in the world. At 7 million square feet, the QTS project is a contender, of course.
Sorting out the largest data centers is a tricky business. In my 22 years of reporting on the data center industry, I’ve dug into this question many times (see The 10 Best Cloud Campuses of 2015 and The World’s Largest Data Centers at DCK in 2010). Some of the largest cloud builders do not disclose the size of their data center campuses, and much of the public data on campus size represents a mix of current and future capacity – and sometimes only future capacity.
But the trend toward larger campuses is undeniable, so we’ve sought to quantify the huge wave of MegaCampus in the pipeline, as well as highlight some projects that don’t share many details about their scale. This task is best approached by viewing these projects in multiple groups.
Largest campuses with public data
Let’s start with campus projects that have released data on their development plans, including square footage of data center space.
- Compass Data Centres, Prince William County: In June, Compass Datacenters filed plans to build up to 10.5 million square feet of data center capacity in the Prince William Digital Gateway, a proposed 2,100-acre technology corridor in Manassas, Va., that could accommodate up to 27 million square feet of data center development. Compass is seeking to rezone 825 acres of land for its project. The Digital Gateway is controversial as it is adjacent to one of Manassas Civil War battlefields and a state forest, but last week hit a key milestone when Prince William’s Planning Commission recommended that the project is approved by Prince William’s Supervisory Board, which is expected to review it next month.
- QTS Data Centers, Prince William County: QTS was the first company to reveal plans to expand the Prince William Digital Gateway. Its rezoning application aims to develop an 800-acre campus, with the ability to build approximately 7.9 million square feet of data center space. Capacity would be split, with QTS outlining two development zones: Digital Gateway North, with up to 5.3 million square feet of development on 470 acres, and Digital Gateway South with up to 2.6 million square feet of development. space on 342 acres. The campus would be developed gradually, with full construction planned by 2030.
- Digital Realty, Loudoun County: To secure its long-term expansion roadmap in Northern Virginia, Digital Realty plans to build one of the largest multi-tenant data center campuses in the world on 424 acres of land adjacent to the airport. of Dulles, long known as the Western Lands. The Digital Dulles campus will create 7.5 million square feet of new data center space over a 15-year period, according to filings. The development plan includes 11 large data center buildings, ranging from 525,000 square feet to 766,000 square feet.
- QTS Data Centers, Fayetteville, Georgia: Known as Project Excalibur, this QTS development is planned for 16 buildings and up to 7 million square feet, including 6.6 million square feet of data centers and 400,000 square feet of office space, according to documents filed with state agencies. QTS has purchased 615 acres of land in Fayetteville, about 20 miles south of Atlanta, and expects construction to begin in 2023 and continue through 2032.
- Switch, Reno: The Citadel campus is expected to be the largest of five massive CORE campuses being developed by Switch. the Las Vegas-based digital infrastructure specialist. Switch deployed more than one million SF and 130 megawatts on campus, which was originally planned to grow to 7.2 million squares. Recent investor presentations indicate that Switch plans to deploy an additional 5 million square feet of data centers, putting campus construction at approximately 6 million SF.
- Meta, Iowa: Altoona, Iowa will become Meta’s largest cloud campus with the addition of two new data centers, the company announced in late 2021. The new capacity will bring Altoona to more than 5 million square feet of data center space. data, pushing it beyond the company’s Prineville, Oregon campus (4.6 million square feet). Facebook/Meta has several campuses that vary between 2 and 4 million square feet.
- Switch, Las Vegas: The original Switch Supernap Campus, now known as the CORE Campus, has seen continuous expansion since opening in 2008. It is Switch’s largest operational campus, with 2.34 million square feet of data and 315 MW, and an additional 1.6 million square feet to come, putting the CORE campus just under 4 million SF.
- Beyond Northern Virginia: Yondr Group has acquired 270 acres of land in northern Virginia and plans to build 500 megawatts of data center capacity in Loudoun and Prince William counties. The exact size of the campuses at these sites is not yet clear. Company executives have built more than 500 megawatts of data center capacity since 2011, including 9 million square feet in Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium.
- AirTrunk Sydney 3: Australian hyperscale specialist AirTrunk has been building for years and recently announced its SYD3 campus in Sydney, a 320 megawatt project which the company says will be the largest in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China). The project will give AirTrunk over 450 megawatts of capacity in the greater Sydney area. Although the company didn’t include square footage in its releases, the total megawatts put it among the top campuses.
Competitors of unknown dimensions
Many data center providers do not disclose the square footage or power consumption of their campuses. Some of them are clearly vying for the title of the world’s largest campuses – or soon will be.
- Google, Iowa: Google Data Center Director Joe Kava has described the Council Bluffs, Iowa campus as the largest data center campus in the world. With the completion of its final phase in February, Google has now invested $5 billion in its Iowa campus. Google kicked off Iowa’s data center boom with its 2007 facility in Council Bluffs, part of the first wave of Google’s global rollout of large data center campuses. He has expanded the campus gradually over the past 15 years.
- Microsoft, Southern Virginia: Microsoft’s campus in Boydton, Virginia is probably the largest of its many campuses around the world. The campus has grown steadily through several generations of data center designs, including both combinations of containerized data center modules and traditional designs. The most recent disclosures put the project at 1.1 million square feet, but satellite photos suggest the project has exceeded that size. In 2021, Microsoft purchased 900 acres of land to expand operations in Mecklenburg County.
- Amazon Web Services, Ashburn: The digital infrastructure supporting the AWS Cloud is massive, comprising approximately 50 data centers in Northern Virginia. Amazon’s infrastructure is distributed in clusters that typically include three data centers, which are spread across multiple smaller sites rather than one huge campus, so Amazon doesn’t rank as high as it thinks might otherwise in a campus size ranking. This approach is driven by Amazon’s use of Availability Zones, which allow customers to run instances in multiple locations to avoid a single point of failure. Although not a traditional campus, AWS has over one million square feet of data centers on contiguous properties in Ashburn, Virginia.
- Quantum Loophole, Maryland: The first Quantum Loophole campus in Frederick County will not come online until early 2024, but is expected to arrive with 2,000 acres of land, 1,080 megawatts of power and infrastructure to support energy strategies incorporating gas natural, energy storage and hydrogen. Quantum Loophole has already signed Aligned as its first tenant and is able to create a new geographic submarket to support the huge cloud cluster in Northern Virginia, which is experiencing power constraints in Ashburn.
What about China?
Over the years, we’ve seen many reports of massive multi-million square foot campuses in China. Some of these reports appear to have overestimated the size of the physical infrastructure, as recently noted by DataCenterDynamics, which has struggled to document claims for multiple campuses. In an effort to share verifiable data, we first looked at public companies with investor reporting requirements.
- China data: ChinData serves large hyperscale providers in China. ChinData’s latest investor presentation says the company has a capacity of 776 megawatts, which is hyperscale by any measure. ChinData’s largest campus appears to be in Datong, Shanxi province, west of Beijing, where the company says it has rolled out 257MW of capacity, with plans for the campus to grow to 500MW upon completion. . A 2020 story from ChinaDaily states that ChinData’s initial installation in Datong was 50MW, described as “Asia’s highest levels for a single data center”.
- GDS data centers: This public data center developer reports a total footprint of 5.42 million square feet in its portfolio, with its largest concentration in Beijing, where it operates 229,000 square meters of data center space, or approximately 2. 46 million square feet.
- China Telecom: As DCD noted, reports on the actual size of the company’s facilities are difficult to verify. But media reports put China Telecom Inner Mongolia’s information park in Hohhot at 10.7 million square feet.
- China Mobile: Several reports indicate that China Mobile is operating a 7 million square foot data center in the Inner Mongolia data park, apparently neighboring China Telecom’s largest site.
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