Data Center: Granite Block data center is shaping up at old Fall River mill
By Will Richmond for Herald News
FALL RIVER — Outside it looks like another of the city’s old mills waiting for new life to be breathed into the solid granite walls.
But inside, the building at 456 Bedford St. is undergoing a renovation that will lead to information pouring into the city and back out to consumers.
The Granite Block Global Data Center is less than two months away from opening, but already the heart of the system is in place. During the past week, a pair of 2-megawatt generators were put into place to guarantee an uninterrupted power supply at the facility. Granite Block President Roland Patenaude said each generator cost about $500,000 and ensures there would need to be four power failures before power to the facility is fully cut. Patenaude said one generator would be powerful enough to run two hospitals.
And power is an important part of the business, as the former mill will hold a 163,000-square-foot Internet Data Center that will house telecommunication and storage systems that will provide application hosting, colocation and disaster recovery services.
“When this is finished, it will be the largest site in New England,” Patenaude said.
Connections to the center will come via four fiber-optic lines from three Internet providers.
Securing the system will not only be a technological feat, but the structure of the building will also play a role. Patenaude said the building’s granite walls are 4 feet thick, making them virtually impenetrable.
While declining to provide a specific cost, Granite Block Chief Financial Officer Jules Cardin Jr. said completing the project will be a seven figure investment.
Once the facility is fully built out, Patenaude said, the company will employ 60 to 80 people that include a mix of security personnel, sales associates, Internet technicians and maintenance employees.
He said the company will also attract those who are leasing space at the Granite Block to Fall River. He said a similar data center in Boston, which is just 40,000 square feet, brings in 500 to 700 visitors monthly, meaning the Fall River site could see three times that amount.
“We’ve got the space and the power to put Fall River on the map,” Patenaude said.