Equinix commits US$60m to Melbourne data centre

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Equinix commits US$60m to Melbourne data centre

First Australian presence outside Sydney.

Equinix Australia will invest an initial US$60 million in an 8000 square metre data centre in Port Melbourne, its first foray outside of Sydney.

The facility, to be known as ME1, will be built at 600 Lorimer Street in Port Melbourne, the same street that houses NextDC's M1 data centre.

Plans for the centre were first revealed by The Australian Financial Review in July last year.

The centre will be built out in four stages, each consisting of approximately 1000 square metres of technical floor space. The other 4000 square metres will consist of 500 square metres of office space, and the remainder is set aside for plant.

Stage one is to house approximately 375 "cabinets". If all four stages are built, the facility will be home to in excess of 1500 cabinets.

Hear more about Equinix's expansion plans at the Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit at the Gold Coast Marriott on March 18-20. Tickets are still available.

Earthworks in Lorimer Street have already commenced, and construction of the building shell and first data hall is expected to begin this quarter before wrapping up in Q4 this year.

Additional stages will be built out based on demand, according to managing director Tony Simonsen.

Simonsen said that Equinix didn't "invest money lightly" and had scoped the propensity of customers to buy into a Melbourne facility before committing to the build, although he declined to reveal the extent of commitments given by customers for stage one.

He described customer discussions as being at "late stage conversion".

"Customers have given a commitment they absolutely want to be in there," Simonsen said. "We're going through the contractual and financial piece [with them] to lock it all down."

Simonsen said that the facility would employ around 20 people "at peak in the first 12 months of operation".

The roles would be a mix of operations, sales and administrative positions.

"It'll be predominately operations people because we operate a 24x7 facility," Simonsen said.

ME1 is expected to house a small network operations centre (NOC) that is supported by staff in Sydney and Singapore.

Unlike Equinix's most recent Australian build — SYD3, ME1 will use indirect evaporative air coolers. 

"The coolers operate in three modes depending on Melbourne weather conditions," an Equinix spokesperson said.

Simonsen also said that the Victorian government had been "very supportive" of Equinix's arrival in the city, providing assistance with planning approvals and making introductions to other prominent Melbourne-based businesses.

Equinix has been in Sydney for approximately 13 years and operates three data centres split between two sites in the city's south.

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