This facility showcases the client's cloud computing technology, which enables computers in remote locations to be used collaboratively over high-speed networks. Cloud computing offers significant advantages to businesses, organizations, schools, and cities whose workers need to access networks through mobile and other devices from remote locations. This building incorporates innovative sustainable design principles and enhances energy efficiency without sacrificing reliability and robustness. In her remarks at the opening ceremony, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue called the facility "one of [the client's] greenest data centers in the world."
The project involved renovating an existing building on the Research Triangle Park campus, reusing 95% of the original building's shell, recycling 90% of the materials from the original building, and ensuring that 20% of newly purchased material came from recycled products. The result lowered costs and reduced the building's carbon footprint by nearly 50%. This allowed the client to apply for and receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification.
Thousands of sensors, connecting IT equipment, data center, and building automation systems, provide data that can be analyzed to plan future capacity, conserve energy, and maintain operations in the event of a power outage.
The data center uses half the energy cost to operate compared to facilities of similar size by taking advantage of free cooling—using the outside air to cool the data center. Intelligent systems use sensors to continuously read temperature and relative humidity throughout the data center and dynamically adjust cooling in response to changes in demand.
As a hosting facility for the client, the facility serves an important marketing function. Therefore, it was critical that the facility "show itself" well. IDCA supported this mission, designing a Visitor Center that provides customers with a clear view of the data center floor to customers, as well as conferencing facilities, and audio/visual technology for presentations.
An innovative modular design will allow the client to add significant future capacity in nearly half the time required to expand a traditional data center. The initial raised floor area is 60,000 SF, with designed expansion to 100,000 SF. The design also enables the client to rapidly scale capacity to meet demand by adding future space, power, and cooling with no disruption to existing operations. This means up to 40% of capital costs and up to 50% of operational costs may be deferred until client demand necessitates expansion. The new data center can also quickly and seamlessly expand its power and cooling capacity.
The client started building the data center in August 2008. The facility began to support client operations within 15 months, compared to the industry benchmark of 18-24 months.