Amazon’s New Oregon Data Center

DataCenterKnowledge reports on’s new Oregon Data Center.

Amazon Building Large Data Center in Oregon

November 7th, 2008 : Rich Miller appears to be the tenant in a large data center rising on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon, joining Google in harnessing the region’s cheap energy resources to power huge cloud computing data centers.

The $100 million data center is being built in Boardman, Oregon in the Port of Morrow, a 9,000 acre industrial park. Plans call for three large buildings on the site, according to The Oregonian, which reports that representatives of Amazon have attended local meetings to discuss permits for the site. The first building is underway and will be 116,000 square feet.

I was starting to wonder if Amazon had some secret to keep us from knowing what is was building.

Amazon is historically tight-lipped about the location of its data centers. But the rapid growth of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform long ago exceeded the excess capacity in the data centers supporting the company’s retail operations. As AWS grows, Amazon will need to continue adding dedicated infrastructure to add capacity. Amazon recently said its S3 cloud storage service was now storing 29 billion objects.

But, you can’t build big data centers without the insiders finding out or the local press.  Especially when you are looking for cheap and/or green power for your data center.

The Columbia River basin has large resources of hydro electricity generated from dams along the river. This cheap, clean power was a factor in Google’s decision to build a huge data center in The Dalles, Oregon and has fueled the tranformation of  Quincy, Washington from a small farming town into a data center hub with new facilities from Microsoft and Yahoo.

A 10-megawatt power substation is being built adjacent to the new data center in Boardman, the Oregonian reports. The paper said a $320,000 Oregon Department of Transportation grant was awarded to the port to connect the data center to local utilities. The grant will cover about half the total cost of the additional power infrastructure.

We’ll see if Amazon changes and follows the Microsoft and Google model to share some of their best practices.