March 21, 2013

It's no secret that most of the New York tri-state area's compute capacity is scattered in the suburbs of New Jersey and upstate New York. However, the multi-tenant data center that just opened in lower Manhattan is not only the newest, it is also one of the largest.

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the opening a 1 million square foot high-rise data center the an old Verizon switching building at 375 Pearl Street. Sabey Data Center Properties, the owner of the property, has named the data center Intergate.Manhattan and says the building's location, power supply and connectivity to underground fiber make it an ideal location for a data center in New York City.

"It is about adding data infrastructure, which is something that I know about," joked Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a press conference yesterday. "Ensuring that institutions – whether they're financial services firms or health care providers or life science pioneers like the New York Genome Center – can securely store, access and share data is key to our city's tech future," he added. "That's why Intergate.Manhattan is such an important addition to New York City's data infrastructure and to our economy. Intergate.Manhattan is a vote of confidence in our city's future and it will create thousands of jobs in the important technology sector." Bloomberg noted that the tri-state high-tech sector has seen a 30% increase in jobs during the past few years, making the New York area the fastest growing are for technology companies outside of Silicon Valley.

[Take a photo tour of the new Intergate.Manhattan data center: Inside the World's Largest High Rise Data Center].

David A. Sabey, president of Sabey Corp, said that Intergate.Manhattan is the largest and most efficient high-rise data center in the world. "We stripped this building to the bone and the data center is 100 percent brand new," Sabey said at the press conference. "It has state-of-the-art energy management. We make all of our data centers as green as possible." Sabey Corp. added brand new infrastructure and state-of-the-art climate control and electrical systems. According to Sabey, Intergate.Manhattan is the largest high-rise data center in the world at 32-stories.

Sabey Data Center Properties operates 13 facilities in the United States, totaling approximately 2 million square feet of data center space. Intergate.Manhattan is not only one of the largest facilities, but it also the only data center that is located in a city center, according to Sabey.

However, some financial services IT experts question locating a large data center in Manhattan. "The fact that a building has integrity, and back up systems, is just one thing," says Steve Rubinow, CIO, Marketplaces Division, Thomson Reuters. "But, as we learned on 9/11 and during Sandy, you also need to be able to get people and materiel to and from the building in times of an emergency. And after 9/11, it became very apparent that building data centers on an island, whether it is Manhattan island or any other island, it is a real bother. It creates an added layer of complexity."

Currently, the data center is in its first phase, providing 100,000 square feet of data center space and 5.4 Megawatts of power. Eventually, Intergate.Manhattan will accommodate 40 Megawatts of data center capacity on 600,000 square feet of data center floor space, with the additional 400,000 square feet dedicated to power, cooling and infrastructure.

Intergate.Manhattan has only one tenant so far, the New York Genome Center, a compute and storage platform for 12 leading medical institutions to tackle the big data challenges that will bring the benefits of genomics to patient care.

The current market for open data center space is relatively unknown and exact numbers are hard to determine. "I don't know what the market is for new data center space," Rubinow says. "I hear varying reports, ranging from not enough, to a glut. All I know is we have been able to find what we need."

[To take a look inside one of the New York area's other largest data centers, visit: NYSE Euronext's Colocation Data Center].

Sabey says it is in negotiations with possible tenants in other verticals including finance, health care, technology including social media, content distribution networks, online retailers, gaming companies, retail co-location providers and government agencies.

Rubinow says that research functions may be perfect for the Intergate.Manhattan facility. "I can see value in having a data center near the office if a company wanted to set up a research facility, or a lab, where workers could walk over and change or modify the equipment," he says.

Safe and Secure
Super storm Sandy, which flooded parts of lower Manhattan last fall, left many office buildings unusable for months because of telecom equipment and generators located in basements that were ultimately swamped. According to Sabey, 375 Pearl Street never lost power during Sandy. In addition, all equipment, including the building's Con Ed substation, is on the second floor or higher, eliminating a risk from storm surge damage that affected so many buildings in Lower Manhattan.

[For more on how Sandy disrupted financial company operations, visit: 7 Wall Street Institutions Slammed By Hurricane Sandy].

At Intergate.Manhattan, Sabey has a redundant high-speed private network with dark fiber connectivity to the major carrier hotels in Manhattan. Intergate.Manhattan's fiber terminates at 22 feet above sea level where it is encased and protected from adverse weather, according to Sabey. From there, it separates into two completely diverse paths, offering low-latency connectivity to Manhattan's major Internet exchanges.

Intergate.Manhattan is also located next to 1 Police Plaza, which is controlled, protected and secured by the New York Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

A Unique Building and Location
Sabey says that 375 Pearl Street's architecture, as well as direct access to the massive Con Ed substation, make it a unique property that likely can't be reproduced in New York City. The purpose-built data center's 34,000-square-foot floor plates will accommodate tenant expansion and are augmented on all four sides by large basement-to-roof open shafts, or "bustles," which allow almost unlimited vertical transportation potential for fiber and MEP commodities without disturbing existing tenants, Sabey said in a press release. High 23.5 foot ceilings with easily-accessible overhead cableways eliminate the clutter and confusion of raised floor cabling, which is costly and more expensive than slab floor construction, added Sabey.

"I believe that it would be far too costly – if not impossible – to bring this level of connectivity and high-tension electrical supply to any other real estate in New York City," Sabey said at the press conference. "Access to the amount of electrical power in the building alone is worth the price of the property."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology.