Friday, September 30, 2011
PRYOR - With the ceremonial connection of a data cable into an input jack, the Google data center in Pryor officially powered up for business Thursday afternoon.
The event, attended by Gov. Mary Fallin, Google Senior Director of Operations Joe Kava and Secretary of Commerce Dave Lopez, marked the culmination of the Internet giant's long-planned investment in the area.
Fallin praised the Mountain View, Calif., company for choosing Oklahoma as one of its sites for growth.
"There are other states you could have invested in," she said. "So on behalf of the state, I want to say thank you for having the confidence to invest in Oklahoma."
The 130,000-square-foot data center, which will power a variety of Google's services, now employs 106, but that number should grow, Kava said.
"There's been a much greater demand for our services," he said.
Although the data center just opened, the company will soon break ground on a second building on its Pryor campus to provide employee amenities including a gym, laundry room, lunch room and office space as well as additional data capacity.
Kava said the company has room to build even more buildings, as it is currently using just 30 acres of its 800-acre Pryor campus.
"When we invest in sites like this, it's with an eye to the future," he said.
Sanders Mitchell, director of Mid-America Industrial Park, said Google initially approached park officials in early 2006, and had an agreement in place a year later.
"There was no arguing, no running backwards on any part," he said. "It was a good deal for everyone."
Kava said Google was attracted to the area by the available land, the infrastructure and the power capacity, although it also was impressed by the positive business climate.
"It's very easy to do business here," he said. "Mid-America Industrial Park has been very cooperative."
Although Google and Mid-America announced the data centers shortly after their agreement and began construction, the company soon put development on hold because of the economy.
However, Kava said Google was encouraged to finish the data center this year because of the company's continued growth.
"Mobile services through our Android platform is probably our fastest-growing segment," he said.
Google typically does not reveal specifics about its data centers, although Kava said each of them help power the entire range of the company's services rather than being dedicated to a few.
Other than the massive cooling framework that stretches across one side of the building, the Pryor data center doesn't look much different on the outside than a typical metal industrial building.
The same can't be said for the interior lobby and common areas. Taking a cue from its new adopted state, Google decorated with rustic wood paneling and benches, a Google sign formed from barbed wire and even a mechanical bull.
Kava said the building was designed with an eye toward efficiency, and uses half the energy of a typical data center of similar size.
He also pledged that the company will be a partner with the community, and has already funded a robotics lab for Pryor Public Schools and math and science equipment for the Chouteau-Mazie School District.
As part of the center's opening, Gov. Fallin declared Sept. 29, 2011, to be "Google Connects with Oklahoma Day."
By ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World