EdgeData planning world-class data center at Grand Sky

By Patrick C. Miller | December 08, 2016

EdgeData LLC has signed a letter of intent with the Grand Sky UAS Aviation and Business Park to establish a 16,000-square-foot data center facility expected to be operational within a year.

Construction of the facility at Grand Sky—adjacent to the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Air Force Base—is tentatively planned to begin in spring 2017.

“With continued support and commitment, this project will be a reality,” said Lonnie Bloomquist, EdgeData CEO. “EdgeData will immediately become the North Dakota-based industry leader in big data applications, and is pleased for the opportunity to develop the world’s first UAS-focused data center on Grand Forks Air Force Base as part of Grand Sky.”

Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, EdgeData assists businesses in capturing, computing and consuming data intelligence. The company serves the wind energy market with BladeEdgeSM, an application that provides management decisions for repairs, upgrades and information to improve and extend wind turbine blade performance and life.

“For the UAS industry, as well as a number of other industries, the real value of operations lies in the data produced through imagery and other technological applications,” said Thomas Swoyer, president of Grand Sky Development Co. “This much-needed data center will allow our tenants and companies from other industries to safely store data and more easily convert it into consumable information.”

Billed as a “world-class data center,” the facility represents a capital investment of approximately $10 million. When complete, the facility will initially house 72 cabinets of IT equipment in 6,000-square-feet of hardened and conditioned data center space. Space will also be available for future growth.

According to a Grand Sky news release, the location of the data center at Grand Sky represents a unique focus toward the UAS sector, specifically big data analytics. The facility will be capable of satisfying data storage demands from tenants of all sizes across various industries. Features of the center will include redundant power, multiple fiber optic network connections and multiple layers of security.

The data center facility and its tenants will use incentives provided by the state of North Dakota through legislation that allows for tax exempt equipment purchases through 2020. EdgeData executives and Grand Sky officials said the tax incentive was critical in EdgeData’s decision to establish a data center in the state.

“These data centers will bring high-tech jobs with matching salaries and support the growth of other small boutique businesses by providing the necessary IT support to grow these businesses,” said North Dakota legislator Mark Owens. “Continuing to diversify the state’s economy is the only true way to grow jobs, expand paychecks and stimulate the state coffers without tax increases.”