The Portland, OR Data Center Market

The Portland, OR Data Center Market

Although Portland is considered a secondary data center market (especially compared to nearby large primary markets Seattle and Silicon Valley), data center users increasingly find the market attractive. Portland's numerous advantages for data centers include the growing economy, the growing technology sector, the lower seismic threat, and aggressive tax incentives.

Referred to as the Silicon Forest, the recent investments in the area made by enterprise users and colocation providers are indicative of large-scale future growth for Portland. The main data center development has occurred in the Portland suburb, Hillsboro, where heavy investments from Intel have led to growing interest in the region. The recent colocation and data center development has been sparked by Infomart and Digital Realty’s data center construction in 2011-2012. Other providers, such as T5, Telx, and ViaWest quickly saw the value in the market, leading to the current 22 capacity delivered to Portland.

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Power Overview

Portland’s electricity costs are low, especially compared to other West Coast markets, such as Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. The primary power provider, Portland General Electric, generates power from diverse sources. A benefit of PGE is their abundance of hydroelectric power, with five owned hydroelectric plants, with an additional two plants jointly owned. Intel has been heavily involved in Portland since 1974, and has invested in building the city’s electric infrastructure.

Connectivity Overview

Portland has an extensive fiber footprint available downtown and in the suburbs, due to heavy investment by Zayo, XO Communications, Windstream, CenturyLink, and Integra. Portland also lies upon several long-haul routes connecting the West Coast, from Vancouver to San Diego. Gigabit Ethernet connections are available downtown, through CenturyLink, and Google is in the planning stages of bringing GoogleFiber to the city. Furthermore, Portland benefits from several submarine cable routes, acting as connectivity gateway to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, and South Korea. The most recent development is the Hawaii Submarine Cable, connecting Portland, Hawaii, and Australia. The new project is heavily backed by Amazon.

Hazard Risk Overview

The Portland market is a relatively safe, with fairly stable climate. There is little risk of large, damaging storm, hurricanes, or tornados. As with most West Coast markets, Portland is at risk for earthquakes. Similar to Seattle, however, most earthquakes are non-damaging, with only three earthquakes recorded above a magnitude of 3.5. Portland ranks lower than California and Seattle in the number of damaging earthquakes. Although volcanoes represent a small risk, Portland’s four volcanoes within 50 miles are worthy of note.

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