STARKVILLE, Mississippi – C Spire unveiled plans today to build a $20 million data center in Northeast Mississippi that will offer businesses a full suite of cloud solutions to help it manage mission-critical data, infrastructure and enterprise applications.
The 22,400-square-foot center will be located on a 6.5-acre site at Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park in Starkville. C Spire, a Ridgeland-based telecommunications and technology services company, plans to break ground on the facility next month and complete construction on the initial phase in November 2014, when the first customers are expected to begin using the center.
When it opens, the center will be one of only 52 in the U.S. with a Tier 3 or 4 rating, the highest in the industry based on data center certifications by the Uptime Institute. Most of the centers in the two top-tier categories nationwide are owned and operated solely by large private businesses or government agencies with little or no space available for commercial use.
C Spire’s Tier 3-plus facility will be the premiere data center in the Southeast with ample commercial space available for businesses and the only one in its class and capability within 250 miles of its location. Other centers are operated in Arlington, Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Birmingham, Tallahassee, Louisville, Chattanooga and Little Rock, but with virtually no commercial space availability.
“Now, more than ever before, businesses need to intelligently manage their data and critical operational processes to handle the explosive growth of mobile, Internet and corporate-based data demands through cloud-based solutions,” said Kevin Hankins, COO for C Spire, citing recent trends that show data center IP traffic is continuing to grow at an annual rate of 31 percent. “Business is not going to the cloud. Business has gone to the cloud.”
Hankins said the company plans to get its data center officially certified by the Institute and is building and managing the facility to the rigorous standards required by the rating and certification authority. “This level of computing power has never before been so readily available to businesses in this region,” he said.
The announcement was made during a news conference attended by local, regional and state government officials, business leaders and economic developers, who cited benefits from construction activities and new jobs as well as the center’s ability to attract new business investment and growth.
“We’re excited about adding a world-class data center to the arsenal of tools that we use to recruit new business and encourage existing companies to expand in Mississippi,” said Brent Christensen, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. “C Spire’s $20 million investment in a Tier III class data center enables us to continue our strong commitment to provide businesses with access to best-in-class, industry leading colocation, cloud and managed-hosting services.”
Officials in Starkville and Oktibbeha County, who provided tax incentives to support the project, said construction and operation of the facility is the largest private sector investment in the region’s history. “This is a great first step for Starkville in building a strong economic future,” said Joey Deason, COO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK and Economic Developer for Oktibbeha County. “This is an outstanding business environment and we’re excited to welcome C Spire as a new member of our community.”
Along with its location in a low-risk geographic zone, the center boasts direct access to C Spire’s ring-protected fiber network and will be managed 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year by the company’s IT staff.
Other services the company plans to offer at the center include colocation, managed hosting, computing, storage, disaster recovery, enterprise cloud services, network and connectivity. In addition, the center will feature the latest security infrastructure, complete disaster contingency plans, a C Spire solutions center and management office and conference room space for traveling client IT staff.
Hankins said the company will sell a comprehensive suite of data center services through its C Spire Business Solutions unit, which is fully staffed with account management and technical support teams who provide “world-class” customer service. “At C Spire, we always put the customer first. Our name — C Spire — literally means ‘customer inspired,’” he said, adding that enterprise data customers are clamoring for locally based service options. “Our clients will enjoy a level of service and partnering that is unmatched in the industry.”
General contractor for the data center project is Brasfield and Gorrie, LLC of Birmingham. Architects are Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. of Atlanta, Piper O’Brien Herr of Alpharetta, Georgia and Dale Partners in Jackson. Civil engineering services for the center will be provided by Pritchard Engineering in Starkville.
C Spire currently operates two other data centers in Mississippi – one in Ridgeland and the other in downtown Jackson. For more information about C Spire’s new data center plans, C Spire cloud services or C Spire Business Solutions, visit www.cspire.com/cloudservices.