The developing data center cluster in North Carolina

I traded emails today with Doug Hollidge, CEO of Five 9’s Digital.  Doug has put together a good rundown of recent data center construction activity in North Carolina.  Most importantly Doug has included a terrific analysis of the factors that make North Carolina such a good place to build a good data center.  Thanks Doug for the thoughtful analysis and good news for the regional data center picture.  Check it out at:


Bechtel looking for warm bodies with Nuclear experience for North Alabama project.

Many veterans of the Naval Nuclear Power program find their way into the data center industry.  The skills “nukes” develop in the Navy lend themselves very well to the data center/mission critical environment.  As a result, nukes are highly sought after by a variety of data centers and professional services firms.   I include this post here mostly for their benefit.  However, it’s also interesting to see that power companies in the Southeast are busy adding capacity and resiliency to their power generation infrastructure.

If you have been listening to the radio in the Atlanta area you may have heard an advertisement by engineering/construction giant Bechtel.  The ad stated that they were looking for people with any type of nuclear power background. 

Curious about what was going on, I dropped by their job fair at the Atlanta Sheraton to get the scoop.  I had a terrific meeting with some of Bechtel’s nuclear engineers.  They explained that the mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Power Station in North Alabama had received TVA approval and funding for completion.  These guys were beating the bushes for nuke resumes in anticipation of a major staffing effort in the very near future. 

I don’t have a degree in nuclear engineering and I haven’t worked in nuclear power in 13 years.  Yet, I sailed past the screeners on the strength of complete Naval Nuclear Power training pipeline and fleet qualifications through Watch Supervisor.  The hiring managers I met with nodded, smiled and made approving noises while looking at my resume.  I gathered that my 13 years in data center engineering, construction and operation was nice but didn’t knock their socks off.    

The project has an approved construction permit, approval by the TVA and importantly, funding.    

This may be a good opportunity for some former nukes looking for their next adventure.  This linkgoes to the Bechtel website with upcoming career fair dates and an online portal for submitting an application. 

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Station

USA Today spotlights data center industry

There’s a good article in today’s USA Today about data centers.  The article focuses much of its ink on the importance of how important physical security and anonymity are for data centers.  Rich Miller, editor of Data Center Knowledge is quoted applying the Fight Club trope to data centers,

“I used to kid about the Fight Club rule: Rule No. 1 is you don’t talk about the data centers, and Rule No. 2 is you do not talk about the data centers.”

I’ve used that expression a few times myself.  I may need to start attributing it to Rich now that he’s quoted using it in America’s newspaper of record.

For a Southeast Regional attribution, the article mentions the Catawba County “data center corridor” anchored by Apple’s new $1B behemoth.  Also noted is Catawba’s development of a second data center park.  This is more good news for the regional data center picture.     

The quote-of-the-piece (QOTP) comes from Michelle Bailey, a vice president at IDC, a market research company that monitors the industry.

“Growth stalled during the recession, but her company estimates about $22 billion will be spent on new centers worldwide this year”     

$22 Billion on new data centers this year.  Nice!

There’s also a video intro regarding the Iron Mountain underground data center/data storage facility in Boyers, PA.  Apparently, that’s where “the cloud” lives.  As good an answer as any I suppose.  But, I know some guys at Amazon Web Services (AWS) that may suggest an alternate location.     

I found the most valuable statistics in a sidebar graph showing the number of major data centers worldwide and in US going back to 2007 and projecting into 2014.  Key stat: Major US data centers in 2011; 7043.  In 2014; 7623.  That’s 580 major data centers predicted for constructed in the US over the next 3 years.  That’s a boom in anyone’s book.

Google Atlanta looking for Data Center Techs

Data Center Facilities Technician – Atlanta

Google – Georgia – Atlanta (Greater Atlanta Area)

Job Description

This position is based in Atlanta, GA.

The area: Operations and IT, Data CenterThe Data Center team designs and operates some of the most sophisticated electrical and HVAC systems in the world. We’re diverse, upbeat, creative, team-oriented engineers and managers working on a daily basis to develop data centers that are changing the face of contemporary computing facilities.

The role: Data Center Facilities TechnicianGoogle seeks experienced facilities technicians to operate, monitor, and support data centers. Working under the direction of the Data Center Facilities Manager, you will interact with support teams at Google headquarters and with local contractors and vendors. You must ensure that facilities problems are identified and repaired quickly, that contractors deliver quality services, and that internal customer demands are met. You will develop creative approaches to keep operational costs to a minimum, improve efficiency, and implement new strategies.


  • Operate, monitor, maintain, and respond to abnormal conditions in facilities systems. Areas include: Electrical, Mechanical, Building Monitoring and Control
  • Track and trend operational characteristics


  • An Associate’s degree, trade school certification, other verifiable training or equivalent in a relevant technical field
  • At least 2 years at journeyman or technician level, or the equivalent in a critical environment. Preference given to data center, hospital, or power plant experience
  • At least 2 years in mechanical/HVAC, electrical, or a combination of both. Mechanical applicants must have or obtain a Universal Refrigerant Handler’s certification. Or Electrical applicants must have or obtain licensing if required by the local jurisdiction
  • Excellent understanding of the electrical and mechanical systems used in a data center environment, including: Feeders, Transformers, Generators, Switchgear, UPS systems, ATS/STS units, PDU/PMM units, Chillers, Air handling units and CRAC units
  • Ability to communicate intelligently and effectively with contractors who perform maintenance or upgrade work on these systems
  • Ability to learn quickly and address issues as they arise during normal working hours or when on call.
  • These positions require shift work that includes weekends and holidays.

Company Description

Google is not a conventional company, and we don’t intend to become one. True, we share attributes with the world’s most successful organizations – a focus on innovation and smart business practices comes to mind – but even as we continue to grow, we’re committed to retaining a small-company feel. At Google, we know that every employee has something important to say, and that every employee is integral to our success. We provide individually-tailored compensation packages that can be comprised of competitive salary, bonus, and equity components, along with the opportunity to earn further financial bonuses and rewards. Googlers thrive in small, focused teams and high-energy environments, believe in the ability of technology to change the world, and are as passionate about their lives as they are about their work.

Additional Information

August 29, 2011
Not Applicable
Information Technology 
Information Services, Internet 
Job ID:
  • Apply on Company Website