Dell appears to be getting set for a bigger push into cloud computing, with news surfacing that it has purchased land in rural Washington State for a new data center.

According to reports, Dell paid $3.6 million for land in Grant County, in the vicinity of Quincy, Wash. The site is located in a region that has become a hub for data centers, and is home to large facilities for Microsoft, Intuit, Sabey and Yahoo.

Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman confirmed that Dell has made “a strategic investment” in the state, but said at this point, the company cannot comment further on the purchase.

Companies have been drawn to the Quincy region in part because of the availability of relatively inexpensive hydroelectric power as well as comparatively low land prices. The state’s legislators also passed a law earlier this year offering companies tax breaks for locating data centers in the state’s rural areas.

The land purchase is being viewed as a sign that Dell plans to ramp up its hosted services offerings. Its rivals, most notably IBM and HP, have been aggressively expanding their cloud capabilities. Earlier this year IBM opened a new $363 million data center in Research Triangle Park, NC, aimed at offering hosted applications and services.

According to reports, the new Dell data center will eventually grow to 250,000 square feet and will ramp up to 30 megawatts.



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