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Amazon expands: Datacenter site planned for Santa Clara

Web Services division plans to erect 2 bit barns an hour from San Fran

Amazon is continuing to expand its global datacenter footprint, this time with a proposed facility in the Golden State, to meet the growing demand for its cloud compute services.

The latest bit barn for Amazon Web Services (AWS) is to be near Gilroy, a city in California's Santa Clara County, where the cloud giant is planning a site that will eventually comprise two datacenter buildings, each with a capacity for up to 49MW of equipment, plus a security building and backup generator facilities.

These details are contained in a document [PDF] submitted to the City of Gilroy, which discloses that AWS is looking to build the new site in order to meet the rising demand of a digital economy, Amazon's customers and its continued growth.

If given the go-ahead, the Gilroy Data Center (GDC) will be constructed in two phases, with the first phase intended to be in operation by 2023. This will comprise the first single-story datacenter building, onsite substation, security building and a battery energy storage system.

If constructed, phase two would be another single-story datacenter building of similar size (approximately 218,000 square feet or 20,252 square metres). This is expected to be constructed within four to seven years of phase one, depending on customer demand.

The documents reveal that Amazon is planning for the phase 2 building to use alternative backup generation technologies to avoid the use of diesel-fired generators.

"While such technologies are not yet capable of meeting the strict reliability needs of the Phase II Building, ADS [Amazon Data Services] understands that such technologies continue to advance and anticipates that one or more progresses to become commercially available and could meet the stringent reliability requirements by the time ADS completes its final design for the Phase II building," the document states.

The site of the proposed datacenter appears to be farmland close to Gilroy that was purchased by Amazon in 2020, for a price of $31.3 million.

According to local media reports, the City of Gilroy is soliciting bids from outside consultants in order to determine the potential environmental impact on the area of the new datacenter project, prior to granting approval.

It isn't just Amazon building out datacenters: Google is set to invest $9.5 billion on US office and datacenter infrastructure projects this year.

Meanwhile, Amazon is also expanding elsewhere, and detailed last month that it plans to spend upwards of £1.8 billion ($2.36 billion) over the next two years in building and operating datacenters in the UK. ®

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