Data Storage Company Involta Cuts Ribbon Adding to Tech. Infrastructure in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

September 26, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 9:30 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The data storage company Involta cut the ribbon on its 26,000 square foot Tier III information storage facility Wednesday, which will host a half a dozen jobs to start.

The facility helps lay down the technological infrastructure for more jobs and development in the future.

"We can make projects happen like this in the City of Duluth, bring this investment, and compete on a regional and national basis," said Mayor Don Ness of the team effort to get the facility in Duluth.

Numerous city and business development leaders in DEDA, and APEX worked hard to bring in Involta.

"There's a lot of APEX members who are very excited about someday this footprint going over here and we're having a second facility," said Brian Hanson, President and CEO of APEX.

The building acts as large hard drive storing customer's data securely with several back-ups for electricity and using Duluth's natural climate to cool equipment.

"Eighty-five percent of the time, we'll be able to run on the cold air economizer, which is free cooling," said Lonnie Bloomquist, Vice Chair and CTO of Involta.

While Essentia Health is a Duluth-based customer, distance is a non-issue.

"We'll actually have customers from our other locations that will use this center as our back-up," said Bloomquist.

Connectivity is king.

"It's an enabler for other types of companies like hosting companies, who want to have a great place to put their computers and be able to get good access to the internet and capabilities of connectivity that is more cost effective," said Bloomquist.

That connectivity is where companies like Duluth-based Enventis, plays a big role with fiber cable.

"That data center would have very limited capability without broadband access to that within the community as well as outside the community," said Greg Flanagan of Enventis.

The Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaborative Project has already expanded the fiber optic network into Duluth.

"It is a major building block, a foundational component of all technology based industries," said Flanagan.

Enventis and Involta are two companies laying infrastructure to attract more business.

"If companies want to put their headquarters here... they have more access to do that cost effectively, and I think that's the important part," said Bloomquist.

The Involta data storage facility cost $11.5 million dollars and could employ upwards of a dozen people in the next couple years.

Involta could expand its storage space in the future, as, there is room at the site to build another facility, but that depends on customer demand for storage space.

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