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Building a Data Center in Double Time

Building a Data Center in Double Time

When Technology Site Planners (Tech Site) was faced with timeline, budget, and engineering challenges in designing, building, and commissioning a new data center’s on-site power system, the firm knew that meeting load capacity, power reliability, and availability requirements would not be an easy task. Because the client’s existing data center was already operating over capacity, to characterize the project as a rush job would be an understatement. Located near Cincinnati, Tech Site’s client required 4,000 sq ft of the data center be designed and built from the “ground up” within a warehouse and be fully operational in six to seven months — about half the time typically required for this type of project.

Tech Site suggested a design that could be doubled in size to 8,000 sq ft to accommodate further growth, modifications, and equipment additions. To be a complete success, however, they had to achieve layered redundancy to comply with the client’s high operational standards. Turning to Emerson Network Power for guidance on the power transfer design, Tech Site and the client decided the best course of action was a flexible design that could be modified and finalized while initial construction was underway. Essentially, some of the engineering and project management would be done "on the fly."

The project included redesigning the facility-side feed from the electric utility source, which comprises a single substation, roadside utility vault, and utility transformer. A new, pad-mounted 2,500kVA transformer also was installed. Inside the building, electric utility power feeds a switchboard that distributes power to two main closed transition ASCO transfer switches through separate breakers, each of which supplies power to the “normal” side of one transfer switch. These transfer switches establish a dual bus power feed arrangement to provide reliable, redundant power to the data center.

A 1,250kVA / 1,000kW generator feeds a switchboard that also distributes power to the two main transfer switches. The distribution switchboards keep power flowing through the uninterruptible power supplies to 75 server racks that manage information for national and international customers. Power also is supplied to four command center office units: a “War Room,” print room, build room, and the data center command and control room.

A 230A secondary ASCO transfer switch directs power from both busses to lighting panels and generator-backed receptacles. In addition, each computer room air conditioner unit is powered by a dedicated transfer switch supplied from both of the dual bus power feeds.

In the end, Tech Site pulled off an incredible accomplishment by completing the project on time and within budget. The result helps ensure reliable, scalable power to the data center.

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