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Officials extol Twitter's decision as sign of Utah's tech strength

Published: Thursday, July 22 2010 9:27 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Twitter profiles are going crazy over the news that a custom data center for the company will be built in Utah.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon on the micro-blog of a Twitter engineer.

And while the social-networking company is holding back information, such as the number of jobs it will create and the new center's location, U.S, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, may have let something slip.

"Sweet to have the Tweet ops in our district!" the congressman published on his own Twitter feed Thursday afternoon.

Chaffetz's district covers West Jordan, parts of Sandy and West Valley, and all of Utah County, plus middle-of-Utah counties such as Sevier, Millard and Sanpete.

That same region includes major information technology firms such as eBay and has even been dubbed "silicon slopes" by industry professionals.

Salt Lake Chamber spokesman Marty Carpenter attributes the success of the area to low electricity costs and a young, well-educated work force.

"Success breeds success, and momentum builds upon itself," he said.

The chamber had not heard of Twitter's expansion plans until the short message was posted online.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development, on the other hand, knew of the deal ahead of time, according to GOED Executive Director Spencer Eccles.

"We're very excited that Twitter's coming, but we're not surprised," he said. "This is the first data center that Twitter will own. It clearly demonstrates their commitment to the state of Utah and the viability of the company."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also praised the company. Rightfully, he used the micro-blogging company to do it.

"Twitter is coming to Utah!" he posted. "Great news for our growing software and technology econ(omic) clusters. Econ(omic) dev(elopment) happening in Utah."

Industry experts joined Herbert in piling on the praise of both San Francisco-based Twitter and Utah economic policies.

"Twitter's decision to locate its data center in Utah is yet another indicator of Utah's growing role in the global technology space," said Richard R. Nelson, president and CEO of Utah Technology Council. "As this tremendous company — now the 12th-largest website in the world — considered its options, we find it tremendous news that Twitter recognized the strong business infrastructure, tech industry presence and availability of skilled technology work force that made Utah their ultimate choice."

The new data center is hoped to add high availability and redundancy into Twitter's network and systems infrastructure, according to an online post by Twitter engineer Jean-Paul Cozzatti. "This first Twitter-managed data center is being designed with a multi-homed network solution for greater reliability and capacity," he posted.

Twitter was formed in 2006 as a forum for sending short messages to multiple friends via cell phone text messages. It has grown into a major Internet presence with more than 100 million users worldwide — and it's still free.

Just don't try sending anything with more than 140 characters.

e-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com

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