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Skybox Datacenters Expands Their Houston Data Center Campus
Fulilling the need of Houston's large companies seeking a high-quality solution that also reduces their TCO

By David Liggitt · 11/10/2015

Dallas-based Skybox Datacenters recently completed the newest phase of construction on their Houston One data center. The data center is built on their new Houston Campus, a twenty-acre data center facility west of downtown. Skybox designed their Houston One data center with four private 10,000 SF data halls, each configured to provide 1.2 MW or 2.4 MW of critical 2N power. The newly-completed Data Hall 3 adds 1.2 MW of critical power capacity in a 2N configuration and 10,000 SF of data center space to Skybox's Houston One facility. Skybox can leverage an additional 10 acres within the private campus to build another data center facility, Skybox Houston Two.

Skybox successfully leased the first of Houston One's four 10,000 SF data halls to a Fortune 500 energy company just before completing construction of the 96,000 SF building this summer. But demand for more data center capacity remained steady, partly due to Houston's energy and healthcare industry companies. Both of these industries produce large amounts of data, which demands robust connectivity and secure data storage. "Energy and healthcare are two of the fastest evolving segments of the data center space today," notes Rob Morris, Managing Partner at Skybox Datacenters. "Houston's sophisticated companies in those segments are demanding more from their data center providers to keep up with the intense pace of change." Skybox Houston One exceeds their demands and is served from a loop-fed 300 MVA utility substation in close proximity to the property's border. In addition, Skybox built the Houston Campus with both dual feed A/B utility power feeds in underground concrete-encased duct banks and upgraded the facility's rollover switches, breakers, transformers, meters, and related equipment for "Premium Rollover Service." This enables a higher level of reliable electric power delivery than is achievable from the standard distribution system.

Skybox designs all of their data halls with their "Double Dense Technology" to enabling highly-scalable power densities of up to 480 W/SF across the entire floor. All data halls with Double Dense Technology can scale from 1.2 or 2.4 MW of 2N critical load up to 2.4 or 4.8 MW in an N configuration with relative ease and speed. Skybox developed Double Dense Technology with Houston's oil and gas companies' needs in mind, but it has obvious uses for other high-performance enterprise computing workloads. Additionally, Skybox's "True Raised Floor Design" frees the data hall of any columns and all operator maintained mechanical/electrical infrastructure, leaving Skybox customers with maximum flexibility on their rack and cabling configurations.

Why Skybox Chose Houston

Skybox's decision to locate their Houston Campus at 2200 Franz Road was strategic. The Houston One campus has dual direct connections to the fiber optic backbone running along Houston's Interstate 10. The area's high-performance fiber connectivity, abundant power, and proximity to a brand-new highway has attracted numerous mid-sized and enterprise company offices. Known as the "Energy Corridor" due to its concentration of oil and gas companies' headquarters, Skybox's Houston Campus is conveniently located to service those companies' data center needs. For example, the world headquarters of energy companies ConocoPhillips and Shell Oil are both less than ten miles away from Skybox's Houston Campus.

Skybox's Houston location is outside of the 500-year flood plain, which is also of strategic importance in a city frequently affected by Gulf Coast hurricanes. Skybox has engineered the Houston One data center with a unique 6" concrete roof deck to withstand hurricane-force winds of over 190 miles per hour—well above the strongest wind speed ever recorded in Texas.

Why the Houston Market is Growing

At datacenterHawk, we see three key reasons for growth in the Houston data center market:

  1. Energy Market Growth – Growth in the energy market over the last few years has significantly expanded the Houston data center market. Even with the drop of oil prices recently, opportunities will continue to exist as companies alter their IT footprint. In addition, Houston's healthcare market and collection of Fortune 500 companies adds to the organic demand
  2. Increased Competition – Increasing demand in the market has created a significant amount of supplier activity in Houston. Along with Skybox Datacenters, CyrusOne, Data Foundry, and Stream Data Centers have added significant data center offerings in Houston over the last few years
  3. Colocation/Cloud Market Maturation – An increase in competition for data center business in the Houston metro area has led to more robust offerings by data center operators. As demand increases in Houston, end users have trusted their IT infrastructure with the more mature data center operator offerings. Data center operators have also worked to gain an understanding of technologies directly impacting the Houston market (i.e. high performance computing)

The key takeaway from Skybox's expansion of their Houston data center campus is that location—along with the Houston market—is primed for growth.

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