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Involta, which has data centers in Duluth, expands in Idaho and Ohio

When Involta, a fast-growing technology company based in Iowa, chose to expand to Duluth a few years ago, it was hailed as a big win for the city. Duluth had competed aggressively with other cities for one of Involta's cutting-edge data storage c...

Involta data center on Technology Drive
The Involta data center on Technology Drive in Duluth greets visitors with a colorful entrance, which houses its offices. (2012 file / News Tribune)

When Involta, a fast-growing technology company based in Iowa, chose to expand to Duluth a few years ago, it was hailed as a big win for the city.

Duluth had competed aggressively with other cities for one of Involta's cutting-edge data storage centers.

The $11.5 million center -- the first critical data storage center in the Northland -- was built in 2012 on 14 acres at Arrowhead and Rice Lake roads in Duluth. Ultra-secure, it has thick walls, dozens of security cameras and multiple backup power systems; it's climate-controlled and, although built to resist fires, it has built-in cooling and fire suppression systems to ensure tenants' critical data is protected.

Such state-of-the-art centers give cities a competitive advantage, offering businesses, health care organizations, governments and colleges access to safe data storage, observers say.

Even before the Duluth center -- Involta's fourth -- opened in 2012, the company continued to expand. Today, it operates seven facilities, in Iowa, Ohio, Idaho and Arizona with its only data centers in Minnesota in Duluth.

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Moreover, the company, founded in 2007, isn't slowing down as more businesses outsource their data operations to secure facilities like Involta's.

Now, Involta is expanding its facilities in Boise, Idaho, and Akron, Ohio.

"In general, we continue to grow," said Chris Shroyer, Involta's vice president of sales and marketing.

Groundbreaking for a new $10.5 million data center in Boise is scheduled for March with it fully operational by the end of the year.

At 34,000 square feet, it's larger than the 24,000-square-foot Duluth center. The company also established a satellite data center in Duluth, in a building owned by client Essentia Health Services at Sixth Avenue East and Fourth Street. Involta now shares the building with Essentia and stores its data there.

The new Boise facility will be Involta's second in that city. The first, the result of a 2010 acquisition, is at capacity.

The recent announcement of the Boise expansion was followed by another last week. The company has started to expand its Akron center.

Like Duluth, the Akron data center was built with two 5,000-square-foot halls for data storage. When the first hall nears storage capacity with tenant data, the company intends to develop the second. And with it comes more jobs.

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That point has been reached at the Akron center, which was built a year before Duluth's. And it's nearing that point in Duluth.

"It's going well in Duluth," Shroyer said.

The build-out of the second storage area in Duluth will come later this year, he said.

"Akron was a little ahead, but it opened up earlier than Duluth," he said. "But the trajectory is similar."

Related Topics: ESSENTIA HEALTHTECHNOLOGY
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