AWS eyes $300m Sydney data centre under 'Project Echidna'

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AWS eyes $300m Sydney data centre under 'Project Echidna'

Exclusive: With 35MW capacity.

Amazon Web Services is hoping to build another $300 million data centre in Sydney’s west under a program of work codenamed ‘Project Echidna’.

The company will need about two years to build and fit out the two-storey data centre, which is intended to support 35.2MW of IT equipment.

AWS isn’t named as the owner in documents sighted by iTnews, but is referred to only as “a leading global company … looking to build a second data centre” at the western Sydney site.

However, iTnews has been able to establish that ‘Project Echidna’ is an AWS project, as well as the cloud provider’s ties to the site.

An adjacent data centre on the same site is currently under construction, and plans for the ‘Project Echidna’ facility are believed to have been in existence since about 2018. 

Heightened demand for data and cloud storage in Sydney had led to the $300 million proposal now being progressed.

AWS had hoped that construction could begin as soon as “early 2023”, suggesting there was some urgency to bring the extra cloud capacity online.

However, it also noted that fitout of the two data floors - a total of 9225m2 of IT space - is likely to be staged, happening as customer demand increases.

It is intended that the new ‘Project Echidna’ facility, as well as the adjacent data centre already under construction, will ultimately be powered by a private onsite substation, to be built by Endeavour Energy.

“Two feed lines would be provided to the substation to offer redundancy,” technical documentation sighted by iTnews states.

Back-up power “would be provided by 19 generators” and AWS also intends to have “distributed lithium-ion batteries … installed in the data halls to provide short term “ride-through” power to the IT equipment while the back-up generators start.”

“Small uninterruptible power systems would also provide battery backup to various other critical systems,” the documents state.

iTnews has elected not to specify the exact site location; AWS, like other operators, generally does not publicise its data centre locations, and prior disclosures have only come out through leaks. 

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