Due to recurring electrical anomalies, the Regence Group asked IDCA to perform facility assessments for two data centers; one in Tacoma, Washington and one in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose was to identify the source of the electrical issues and provide a strategic view of how the overall condition of each facility supported long-term corporate IT objectives.
In a comprehensive evaluation of electrical system capacities, historical load analysis, system configuration, and equipment condition, IDCA identified the source of the electrical issues, and also gained valuable insights into the mechanical system components and architectural building systems. These included the need for seismic restraint of both data center infrastructure and equipment, and evaluation of life safety systems relative to the data centers' performance and reliability. In addition, options for replication of the SLC data center were identified as a strategic corporate need. The Facility Evaluation (FA) reports provided Regence management with a comprehensive understanding of their critical data center facilities.
Responding to the findings of the FA reports and discussions with Regence about long term needs, IDCA developed a master plan for upgrading the SLC data center and campus infrastructure. The plan recommended a new electrical infrastructure for the campus, and, to elevate data center reliability, segregation of data center power from office building power. Options were developed to communicate how the facility could meet Regence's long term growth requirements.
Based on the master plan, Regence authorized IDCA to proceed with detailed design to address immediate concerns. Phase 1 design consisted of the new campus-wide electrical infrastructure, segregation of power for the data center, and designed-in infrastructure, providing Regence maximum long-term flexibility. Also included were seismic isolation bases for server cabinets as well as reinforcement of the raised access floor and utility infrastructure restraint. The design scope also included replacement of the data center's uninterruptible power system (UPS) infrastructure.
The objective was to add N+1 redundancy and increase capacity for future expansion while reducing energy consumption. Because the data center is a mission-critical 24/7/365 facility, the time frame required for power cutover to a new electrical system was limited to one 10-hour shutdown.
Phase 2 consisted of replacement of the entire data center mechanical system. Leveraging the advantageous Salt Lake City climate, the new chilled water system design operates in an economizer configuration for all but 80 hours per year, when the cooling towers are augmented by a small chiller to 'trim' system capacity. Installation of a new hot aisle containment system further improved the efficiency of the new mechanical system. The new design reduced the energy to cool the data centers by 80%, resulting in significant savings in utility costs. New high efficiency CRAC units, cooling towers, pumps and other mechanical equipment all provide N+1 cooling redundancy for both data centers. Piping connections for future mechanical units prefacilitize installation of additional equipment as IT loads increase. The comprehensive energy reductions also qualified Regence for significant incentive compensation from the local utility provider to offset the initial upgrade cost.
Phase 2 also included installation of a second 1750 kW generator to provide N+1 redundancy for the backup power system. Installation of a load bank allows Regence to routinely test the generators under load to improve reliability and maintain the equipment in peak condition.
The installation of new infrastructure and comprehensive upgrades accomplished Regence's goals for improving data center reliability, providing for future capacity and positioning the mission critical facilities to support corporate requirements.