Regional Technology and business leaders gathered in Duffield last Friday for the unveiling of the nation's first and only of its kind data center. While the must-see event signaled the start of business for OnePartner Advanced Technology & Applications Center, for many of the regional participants and dignitaries, it was the culmination of much foresight on the part of those who had the vision to invest in infrastructure providing 250 miles of fiber optics throughout Southwest Virginia.
"As we know, Southwest Virginia lags behind the rest of the state when personal incomes are compared, but the quality of the workforce excels when meaningful employment opportunities are available," said Virginia State Senator William C. Wampler Jr. "it has been my desire through the creation of the Tobacco Commission and its 'e-58 initiative' that broadband telecommunication infrastructure would give our citizens prospects never before available. This project validates our efforts to transform the economy of Southwest Virginia and is a firm foundation on which to build in the future."
Local economic development officials are hoping Friday's opening will be the jumpstart to a new age of announcements in Scott County - those with a technology-based-application.
According to company officials, the 9,200 square foot OnePartner ATAC is truly a world-class facility providing regional businesses with an unparalleled computing environment, suitable for either primary or secondary systems. The Tier III classification awarded by The Uptime Instititute, Sante Fe, NM, is a measure of the facility's reliability of service. A Tier III data center has no single points of failure anywhere in the environment. Every provision within the center has redundancy and this creates a fault-tolerant system.
A large crowd turned out for the Unveiling
OnePartner Director Tom Deaderick challenged the IT leaders in the crowd to think of their computing systems differently.
"Those of you who have powerful networks, with advanced hardware and software know that while others might envy this equipment, no one envies your burden. You have responsibilities, not systems - the systems are tools only," explained Deaderick. "When you take those responsibilities very seriously, there's no question where you will place them. The ATAC is the ideal environment for your responsibilities, with a certified high availability design."
Virginia State Senator William Wampler Jr.
The Duffield facility is indeed remarkable, holding the designation of the "sole U.S. company providing outsourced commercial data center services (including colocation and disaster recovery) that has been awarded a Tier III Design Certification by The Uptime Institute.
Jerry L. Miller, MD, President and founder of Holston Medical Group expressed his immense pride in the region's premier commercial data center. As a sister company of Holston Medical Group, the OnePartner ATAC is owned by the physicians and leadership of HMG.
"I've served this region as a family doctor since 1976," explained Dr. Miller. "I love the practice of medicine, and in many ways I don't see medicine as so different from technology. The best physicians are those with a passion for achievement, and intolerance for inefficiency. They have inquisitive minds and a great passion to achieve something exceptional. I'm very proud of the team that has developed the ATAC."
Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore
"A resource like the ATAC will benefit the region in so many ways, and it continues the visionary efforts that Virginia's leadership developed. This data center is like no other in the nation, it is officially recognized and it represents the capabilities of the talented folks in this region."
Virginia First District Delegate Terry Kilgore echoed Miller's pride and visionary expectation of growth as a result of the ATAC. "The vision that Holston Medical Group and OnePartner have for this facility fits well with the Virginia Tobacco Commission's directives in revitalization through technological advancement," stated Kilgore, vice-chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Commission. "At times, economic development requires a spark to ignite other development, and I believe this announcement and tour today opens the gate for additional opportunities."
Holston Medical Group President & Founder, Jerry L. Miller, MD.
According to Deaderick, the ATAC's Tier III designation is a result of the expert teamwork of those involved in the creation of an incredibly challenging facility design.
"No single organization could bring up something like this," noted Deaderick. "We want to thank our internal team, Todd Miller, Chip Childress and especially Mac Scofield, whose 18 years experience with World Class data center operations made our certification possible. A team of construction partners, including Thomas A. Weems Architect, J.A. Street, and Kingsport Armature worked with exceptional diligence. Other regional business partners include Embarq who worked with Cisco to design the redundant network and provide telecommunications alongside Sunset Digital who manages the extensive Virginia portion of the network."
Outgoing LENOWISCO Executive Director Ron Flanary
"Thanks to BCTI, Deliberare and Randy Sermons as well as great vendors like Cisco. It has been a massive project. There are larger data centers, just like there are larger warehouses - but this data center is designed for one thing - high availability, and no other center compares."
OnePartner's first customer is CareSpark. Nationally recognized in their own right, CareSpark will contain healthcare records of the entire region. Other early clients will include regional banks and credit unions, and of course, Holston Medical Group.
At the conclusion of the news conference, guided tours of the OnePartner ATAC were provided. Door prizes for the event, with a theme of "Never gamble what you can't afford to lose," included a MacBook Air laptop won by Myron Salyer of Nickelsville and an Apple iPod Touch won by Tim Blankenbecler of Hiltons.
Incoming LENOWISCO Executive Director Skip Skinner
In the server room