A new year brings a new first to Knoxville’s business community, as SH Data Technologies unveils plans to open Tennessee’s first high density edge data center at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, January 29. The data center, called “The Fort”, will be located at the site of the former Fort Hill building at 901 East Summit Hill Avenue.
Butch Smith, founder of Smith & Hammaker and now chief executive officer of SH Data Technologies, aims to create a regional anchor for businesses with “big data” needs, from data storage and security to virtualization. “This facility will be the cornerstone of a broader strategy to provide technology solutions with unlimited scale,” said Smith. “This data center will be Knoxville’s first Tier III data center, and will attract businesses from other regional cities outside of Knoxville to use our technology to manage, scale, and protect their highest priority data. The data center is the first step, but we will also offer disaster recovery, technology integration, and managed-cloud services under the SH Data Technologies brand.”
Data centers are categorized on a tier scale, from I to IV, based on power, reliability, and availability. The Fort will be Knoxville’s first Tier III data center and will compete with similar facilities in Atlanta and Chicago, among others. “What makes The Fort unique is our power capabilities,” said Frank Hutchison, president of SH Data Technologies. “We will have two separate power feeds from our partner, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), which provides Tier IV power capabilities. Coupled with our cloud services and disaster recovery capabilities, The Fort will offer businesses a way to safely manage and scale their data with first-class technology.”
In addition to the data security, the company will also offer network and hosting services through connectivity providers such as AT&T.
The first phase of the data center will include a restoration of the Fort Hill building. The Fort will consist of 33,000 sq. ft. of commercial office space and 8,000 sq. ft. for the data center.
SH Data Technologies purchased the property in 2014 and has been working with the Knoxville Chamber and East Tennessee Economic Development Agency (ETEDA) to finalize the project in order to attract businesses from outside the community. “Besides being a huge economic development win, in and of itself, The Fort will be an asset to add to the list of our region’s technology infrastructure,” said Doug Lawyer, member of the ETEDA Advisory Committee and vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “I’m confident the data center will help get us on the radar of new business location opportunities from companies considering relocations or expansions.” Subsequent phases of the project include four separate data facilities, an additional 10,000 sq. ft.
“We are extremely grateful to Mayors Madeline Rogero and Tim Burchett and Bank of Tennessee” said Smith. “This is a great example of public leaders and private entrepreneurship creating a competitive advantage for Knoxville.”
Mayors Rogero and Burchett, among others, will join the project’s developers to formally break ground at the future data center site on Monday, January 29 at 4p.m.