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Burlington VT Telecom

6 Minute read

(Williston, VT) – Telecom Co made an impressive leap into the data center world after creating a large fiber map across Vermont and other bordering states. The existing structure for this site was nothing but a small office space, hosting a call center to serve its fiber-optics customers, and an attached 7,000 sq. ft warehouse sitting behind it. Outside the structure was a parking lot shared with other neighboring warehouses and a small sliver of land that later became an impressive mechanical yard to serve a high-end data center. Within these excruciating tight boundaries, and through design and construction, FGCC was able to transform this facility, delivering 1MW of critical IT capacity, at 2N electrically and N+1 mechanically.

In terms of electrical, critical power was distributed to the rack through tap boxes sitting on redundant 400A busway rails, meticulously laid out over each rack row. These IT loads were backed by (4) Eaton 550kVA/500kW 9395 UPSs, residing in one of the most well-thought-out electrical rooms you’ve ever seen before. Facing the challenge of a small building footprint, FGCC was able to provide a stacked electrical room design, allowing the customer to gain more white space and turn it into capital. At the ground level, two 500 sq. ft electrical rooms were built, divided by a fire wall, with each room being mirror-image for a 2N design. Above the ground level electrical rooms sit (2) more 500 sq. ft electrical rooms built on a custom mezzanine with open grates, allowing cold air to circulate and a single FM-200 fire suppression system to be used for both stories. Overall, the design allowed 1000 sq. ft of floor space to host the electrical infrastructure for each 480V, 2500A generator-backed electrical service. Within these impressively small footprints, are 2500A ATO switchboards connected to 2MW generators, 2500A power distribution switchboards serving all mechanical equipment and non-IT loads, 550kVA UPSs, each with (2) VRLA battery cabinets, 1600A UPS paralleling switchboards with system isolation bypass, multiple 500kVA step-down isolation transformers, 1600A critical power distribution switchboards serving IT loads, 400A ATSs and three-breaker-bypass cabinets for outdoor chillers, and to top it off, multiple 20T Liebert CRAC units. All of this was laid out and installed with sufficient space to meet all code-required clearances in addition to clearances required by equipment manufacturers.

Maximizing the use of space was a reoccurring theme for this project. The N+1 mechanical design was an all-but-similar story with (3) 180-ton chillers set in a tightly designed mechanical yard, adjacent to the building structure. Each chiller was equipped with redundant VFD-driven pumps, free-cooling modules for efficiency during colder months, local UPSs backing chiller controls, and an upstream ATS for supplying redundant power sources. Under 24” of raised floor, entered redundant systems of chilled water piping, each being electronically-valved to automatically serve any of the (11) 30-ton Data Aire CRAH units serving the white space. Within a matter of two minutes, the robust building management system is able to automatically isolate any chiller, while simultaneously staging on the third N+1 chiller and open its valves to support either of the two piping systems. At the end of the project, this mechanical system was dialed in during commission to meet the requirements of some of the toughest SLA’s out there.

Getting into the white space, hot aisle containment was used to trap the hot air coming off he servers and allow it to rise into the plenum above the suspended ceiling. From here, the hot air would circulate back to the CRAH’s through return air ducts, where the CRAHs would then transfer the heat into the water being returned to the chillers. The CRAH’s were spread among two separate fire-rated areas, each having its own additional CRAH to meet N+1 mechanical compliance. Much like the chillers, local UPSs were installed to back up the internal controls for each CRAH, allowing the CRAH’s controller to remain online in the event of a catastrophic failure where both of its power sources became unavailable. This allows the CRAH’s to return to work just seconds after the first generator comes online. All in all, the mechanical and electrical designs for this data center were designed to avoid as many single-point-of-failures as possible.

Let’s get into the security system of this data center. Security features for the facility included card readers for entering and exiting of all rooms, cameras pointed at every aisle and walkway throughout the interior and exterior of the data center, security fencing around the perimeters of the mechanical yards, and man-traps at both main entrances, each equipped with head-counters and biometric readers. Exterior walls and ceilings were lined with corrugated metal and a moisture barrier, keeping both people and water out. Data center interior walls were built with a steel mesh within the wall, starting from the concrete slab below the raised floor and extending to the bottom of the roof deck. This provided increased security between the separate data hall rooms, or “pods”. Yet, thanks to the security steel being a mesh-like design instead of a solid-corrugated design, this also allowed mechanical and FM-200 systems to share large plenums above the suspended ceiling and below the raised floor.

Additional features of the Telecom Co facility included a loading dock area, consisting of two docks and a large, drive-up overhead door at exterior finish grade. These overhead doors were also tied into the card access system. Hundreds of linear feet of leak detection cable reside under the raised floor and around the perimeter of each electrical room. Vesda systems are installed throughout the entire white space, electrical rooms, and security room for increased fire detection. Additionally, FM-200 systems are installed in these spaces for computer-friendly fire suppression that also is safe around live electrical equipment.

To conclude, between the numerous paths of redundancy and the high-tech special system packages, this facility transpired from an empty warehouse to a profound, highly-rated data center. Every inch of space within this data center was proactively planned through engaging discussions between FGCC and Telecom Co. The final end-product had the ability to market itself with ease and bring high-end customers through the door. Are you looking for a facility that can do the same?

  • FGC Construction installed an entire megawatt of UPS and generator upgrade to our 3d Printing facility. This holds our power stable and provides unlimited runtime. Much appreciated!

    Lee M.COO - Boston, MA
  • FGC Construction delivered 2.5MW of high density data center in the middle of Silicon Valley. City planning to utility negotiations. Very impressed!

    Tim S.CFO - Silicon Valley, CA

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