eBay Modular Data Center RFP - Mercury



On July 5, 2010 Ebay announced the release of a new RFP for a Modular Data Center in Phoenix, Arizona. This approach to this project was unique in that we decided to announce the project publicly.  The following blog posting - Let the Modularity Battle Begin - as well as discussion threads on LinkedIN through the Data Center Pulse INDUSTRY group kicked it off. Anyone can join DCP INDUSTRY group and see the content. The goal was to allow any qualified companies in the industry have a chance to participating in the RFP process. Secondly, it was meant to be a public process so that the industry could observe what transpires.  In the past, specific vendors were selected to participate in Ebay RFPs. We believed that this approach could limit innovation.  It also excluded the companies that we are not aware of. We also knew this was going to be a challenging RFP because of the design requirements to accommodate current, emerging and future technologies in a highly flexible manner. Companies requested to participate through the RFP request form on Data Center pulse. 

On August 27, 2010 we announced the finalists of the RFP on geekism blog - Harnessing The Data Center Design Community Power - and on YouTube - Episode 26: Modular DC RFP Finalists Announced. The finalists present to the Ebay review board the week of September 7th.

On December 13, 2010, we announced the winner through the geekism blog - Turn Up The Heat - and on YouTube - Episode 28: Modular Data Center RFP Winner, Project Mercury.  

On February 22, 2011, we held the Modularity Readout at the Google campus. Five of the Six finalists presented their solutions to DCP members in Mountain View, CA. 

On December 12, 2011, eBay held the grand opening of Project Mercury in Scottsdale, AZ. 50 DCP peers converged on the center and spent the day discussing the business drivers, strategy, implementation, results and lessons learned.

On February 27, 2012, The Green Grid released the Project Mercury Case Study. It received great reviews and pickup from outlets such as Data Center Knowledge and Wired Magazine.

Stay tuned for more updates.



A shell building is currently being built with a targeted completion date of 12/31/10.  The intent of this RFP is allow participants to design a high density data center utilizing the ground floor (8,000 sf w/3' raised floor) and the roof (8,000 sf, fortified to accommodate 12, 40' containers). We assumed that we could fit 4MW of IT load in that physical space (and corresponding MEP on the roof and adjacent space detailed in the drawings).  The phase I delivery is 2MW with the ability to easily expand. The firms have a clean slate to design what every they want to achieve the following requirements. Highly flexible design that can accommodate multi-tier deployments (simultaneously Tier I-III), traditional cooled IT equipment, high temp air cooled IT equipment, and high temp liquid cooled IT equipment. This includes delivering 85F water (max wet bulb) to cool the IT equipment. It also requires mixed water temps to be delivered to different components (standalone servers, racks, pallets, pods, containers, etc). It will be a mixed environment because new compute products are being created to take full advantage of it.  Ultimately we expect to achieve 100% free cooling in Arizona with this design. Capacity should increase simply by adding more modular power and cooling blocks without impacting the site. The 4MW of IT load is the minimum the participants must achieve, but being able to deliver more in the same space is a bonus.


Bottom line, we letting engineers "engineer" by removing the restrictions of traditional data center design. It is a box that they can fill however they want to achieve or exceed the design parameters.  We want the participates to push the boundaries and come up with some incredibly flexible and efficient innovations. This design should allow a useful life of 10 years even with technology changing rapidly inside the four walls and parapet. The RFP goes into more technical details/requirements.

August 2, 2010 - The video below gives more on the business and technology drivers behind the project.


eBay and the DCP community are interested to see what concepts and features the industry believes we require to build a future-proof, best-in-class datacenter. 


August 27, 2010 - The video below shows the latest on the building construction and finalists in the RFP process. 


December 13, 2010 - The winner is announced. 


December 13, 2012 - Project Mercury Opening Collaboration Session with DCP Members. 



Please send questions to modular@datacenterpulse.org 




  • 07/05/10 - RFP Opens, RFIs accepted (DONE)
  • 08/20/10 - RFP Close (DONE)
  • 08/27/10 - Finalists Notified (DONE)
  • 09/07/10 - Finalist Presentations start in San Jose (DONE)
  • 09/10/10 - Finalist Presentations conclude (DONE)
  • 09/13/10 - eBay project team evaluations start (DONE)
  • 09/20/10 - RFP Winner announced (DONE)
  • 11/15/10 - Design work starts (DONE)
  • 12/31/10 - Warehouse shell completed (DONE)
  • 03/01/11 - Data Center Construction starts (DONE)
  • 08/01/11 - Data Center Construction complete (DONE)
  • 09/01/11 - Data Center Commissioning complete (DONE)
  • 10/01/11 - Data Center Operational (DONE)
  • 12/13/11 - Project Mercury Opening & DCP Collaboration Session (DONE)


RFI Responses


After receiving the first 40 RFIs we decided to roll this into a public document rather than adding them all in the Linkedin Discussion thread.

07/30/2010 - RFI Response Rollup



Each company will be score in the manner detailed in this scoresheet.  



We approved 38 requests to participate in the RFP. On August 20, 2010 we received 17 full submissions. On August 27, 2010 we selected six finalists. The details are included in this blog posting - Harnessing the Data Center Design Community Power. The finalists are in alphabetical order below:




November 15, 2010 - Construction Picture

October 25, 2010 - Construction Picture

September 25, 2010 - Construction Picture

August 25, 2010 - Construction Picture

August 2, 2010 - Construction Picture


Questions: modular@datacenterpulse.org