HP data center fully operational on provisional permission, says exec

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The first stage of HP's (NYSE: HPQ) US$31mn data center in Paine, Chile, is complete and 100% operational, HP Chile manager Edgar Witt told BNamericas.

HP is currently operating with temporary permission after the government's environmental impact evaluation system (Seia) rejected a previous application in January, objecting on 11 points of the project, such as its social impact on the local community and its legal representatives' lack of clarity.

"The data center has permission to operate. This permission is provisional, but Chilean law allows our data center to operate until the final approval," Witt said.

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All projects evaluated by Seia go through an "administrative procedure" to verify that companies submitted documents correctly, he said, and "in our case the rejection was related to an administrative mistake when we submitted it. That's why we have resubmitted the project... with all the information missing" from the previous time.

In July 2010, HP submitted a proposal to build a high-tech facility in Paine, on the outskirts of capital Santiago, to store and process data in order to consolidate HP's services under one roof.

The company confirmed that the project consolidates five data centers from finance-related enterprises like Nexus, Redbanc and Transbank, where HP will manage the IT infrastructure for all three.

"We've been chosen by these companies because we're capable of providing all the support that the financial industry requires," Witt said, adding that HP can reduce operational risks and guarantee a minimum of failures that could affect the banking industry, including catastrophic events like earthquakes.


One of Seia's objections was the lack of a "relationship" between the project and the policies, plans and programs for the local community's development.

But according to Witt, the data facility benefits the local community because it means an "improvement in terms of [road] access, maintenance and aesthetic enhancement."

Additionally, the facility generates employment, "from the very beginning of construction to the subsequent formal opening and regular maintenance," he noted. So far HP has employed more than 250 workers to build the data center.

Although Paine is a rural, mostly agricultural area, Witt said HP's data center could be "setting a trend" to start other non-agricultural projects in rural areas to offer these types of services.

"HP has good ethical practices that include those related to looking after the environment," he added, and the most recent data center was built according to the company's environmental standards.

HP's data center in Chile adds to two in Brazil, two in Mexico and one in Argentina. For the moment, the company does not have plans to build more.

The data center's cost rose from original estimations last year following the magnitude-8.8 earthquake in February 2010, which forced the company to reevaluate the facility's location.