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Equinix opens DC12, its latest multimillion-dollar data center in Ashburn

DC12, Equinix’s latest data center built in Ashburn. Times-Mirror/Alex Erkiletian
International data player Equinix opened its latest data center Thursday, a $98.5 million campus in Ashburn.

The data center, known as DC12, is located in close proximity to the company's other data centers in Ashburn. It is Equinix's 14th center to open in the D.C. area.

The new center boasts access to a dense mix of global networks, cloud service providers, digital content companies and social media platforms, offering customers the ability to interconnect with partners and customers to exchange operational data.

According to Jon Lin, vice president of corporate development and strategy at Equinix, another four data centers will be built in the Performance Circle area of Ashburn, on the same parcel of land housing DC12. Lin estimates the land will be filled up in the next five to 10 years.

He credits the expansion of the cloud and “the data-driven economy” for fueling the need for more data centers.

“We continue to see aggressive growth. The appetite for doing more with data isn't slowing down,” Lin added.

Equinix does not divulge a comprehensive list of its customers, but Lin mentioned working with big Internet hitters like Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

Security on campus is tight. “We take it very seriously,” said Lin. “We are handling critical infrastructure.”

A customer must pass though five bio-metric scans before gaining access to the data center from the outside.

Some customers operate teams from inside the data centers themselves, while others monitor servers remotely.

Media was granted a tour of two of Equinix's fully operational data centers, DC6 and DC11, ahead of DC12's official opening.

DC6, which opened in 2011, is built on 36 acres and is surrounded on all sides by a security fence. Customers' servers are kept in locked cages.

Tour guide Sean Griffin, a sales engineer manager for Equinix, explained how a customer accessing a cage has to pass five hand scans to gain access. All customers have the option to access their cages at any time.

A small team of Equinix staff monitor operations, humidity and power. The center is powered by six three-megawatt generators. It is a low-light facility with blue lights, a feature of Equinix data centers. Fiber runs overhead along with tubes where a massive amount of data push through.

If a new building is acquired by the company, it is “equinized” so it looks the same as the rest of the data centers in the company's portfolio.

DC12 is billed by the company as its new flagship building. The first phase of DC12 will add 1,500 cabinets. At full build, the facility will provide capacity for approximately 3,000 cabinets.

Lin said efficiency was key when it came to designing DC12.

“The cooling is efficient as possible,” he said. “For a long time, every time we build we would look at what is best practice, what is the industry trend.”

Other Equinix buildings now springing up, at home and abroad, are a standard design based on DC12.

The new data center was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. Protecting the environment and minimizing waste is key to Equinix's vision, company officials said. It's envisioned the company will have achieved 100 percent sustainability by 2020.

Karl Strohmeyer, Equinix president of the Americas, gave a keynote speech to customers and local dignitaries.

Strohmeyer noted that 70 percent of the world's Internet traffic flows through Loudoun County, and he said “every cloud server you can imagine” has a presence.

When it comes to expanding Equinix's global footprint, the company is showing no signs of slowing down. It now operates in 48 markets across five continents. It is also looking to break into traditionally more challenging markets such as India and Russia.


Data Centers aren’t job centers, except for the construction workers who build them. But once they are built, you might have a dozen people on site at any given time. What they good for is the tax revenue they generate. The pour money into the local treasury and require next to zero Government services.

The data centers are the best thing to happen to loudoun.  They are the only entity in the county that is tax revenue positive.  They have a low work force number meaning less traffic on the road.  They pay enough to actually live in the county.  Well above any strip mall store that would have been built in its place.  Land that would have been ultimately exchanged in back room deals to build more townhouse and one level office parks or some sports complex.  All of which the tax payers foot the bill for.  Every time I see a news article about a new data center in loudoun I sigh with relief knowing my taxes won’t be at 3 dollars before I retire to fund the Beverly Hills schoool system we have here.

Chris, around 20 if you combine shifts.

I, too, am interested in the numbers, for interests sake. Chris, when you get that information, what will you do with it? What is your point of inquiring about the number of jobs?

Data centers are a win in many regards, they check many boxes for many different groups and their priorities. If you are reading this, you are obviously not internet-averse.  Their proliferation is the essence of free market economy, clustering where the fuel for them exists (fiber data lines, electricity, proximity, high-ed labor).

Eight restaurants will ring a regional shopping center because it is common sense, symbiotic relationship commerce. Very similar dynamics.

Replace the data centers with R-8 or PDH-4 housing, you’ve lost tax base, employment, and added education costs and far greater vehicle traffic.

Get me my bumper sticker: I (heart) Data Centers!


The workforce at your typical data center is comically small for the building size (less than 100).  That’s why these articles never bother to mention the number.

These are all interesting but how many jobs are at each of these facilities?

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