ATLANTA -- Twitter is spreading its wings in the ATL.
The social networking site, which has become critical communication infrastructure, will take 100,000 square feet in a downtown Atlanta data center, sources said Wednesday.
Based on the square footage, Twitter could invest up to $300 million in servers, computers and other electronic equipment at the facility.
With the planned expansion, Twitter will triple its data center footprint in a nearly 1 million-square-foot data center at 1033 Jefferson St. In October 2011, Twitter took 50,000 square feet in the same data center.
A call to a Twitter spokeswoman was not returned Wednesday morning.
Quality Technology Services, which operates the data center that is the size of 17 football fields, declined to confirm Twitter's expansion plan.
The expanded Atlanta capacity will improve the speed and reliability of Twitter's service to its East Coast and European users.
Twitter is said to have more than 500 million users. As that number escalates, Twitter has to scale its data center infrastructure to handle the hundreds of millions of tweets daily.
The company's data center expansion has helped keep the service relatively crash free, making sightings of the "Fail Whale" rare. When the service goes down, users are greeted by an image of a whale being carried by a flock of birds, dubbed the "Fail Whale."
Metro Atlanta is witnessing a surge in data center building that has put it on the cusp of becoming one of the nation's top-tier markets.
The region, which has more than 50 data centers, has robust fiber infrastructure and a reliable power grid. The cost of power in Georgia is about half that of the national average.
Two of the country's largest fiber routes interconnect in metro Atlanta, resulting in a built-in, high-tech ecosystem for data centers, creating the Southeast's largest concentration of telecom companies.
Metro Atlanta has attracted West Coast-based Internet brands, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), seeking to diversify their server farms and be closer to East Coast and European customers.
In March 2011, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (NYSE: AMD) plans to open a more than $100 million data center in Suwanee.
The region is attracting new data center operators, such as ByteGrid. The Northern Virginia company acquired a 77,322 square foot facility in Alpharetta and plans to more than than double it, Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported Dec. 4.
ByteGrid plans to expand the 16 acre property, adding at least 100,000 square feet of new data center space. The company could invest between $25 million to $100 million in building out the expansion. en
Data center demand is expected to increase in the next two years, according to an annual survey of IT decision-makers at large corporations in North America.
Ninety-two percent of respondents said they will definitely or probably expand in 2012 - the highest percentage in the six years data center solutions provider Digital Realty Trust Inc. has sponsored the survey. Of those companies planning or considering data center projects this year, 92 percent plan to expand in the United States.