Data center facilities pro

Jul 2 2009   1:14AM GMT

NSA to build massive $1.6 billion data center in Utah

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Last week President Barack Obama signed a war spending bill that, among other things, gets the ball rolling on a massive National Security Agency data center that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion over the next four years.

The data center would be built at Camp Williams, a military base just south of Salt Lake City. The 200-acre data center site would have 65 megawatts of total electric load, which is about the same amount of power used by all the homes in Salt Lake City. About 30 megawatts of that total would be for the IT load, according to military documents, with room to expand up to 65 megawatts. According to government records:

Installed infrastructure will support 65MW technical load data center capacity for future expandability. The design is to be capable of Tier 3 reliability. Power density will be appropriate for current state-of-the- art high-performance computing devices and associated hardware architecture.

Congress last week passed and Obama signed the bill authorizing the start of the NSA data center construction, with initial spending approval for $169.5 million. The agency hopes to begin construction of the facility in September and finish by next May. Some other details from the project:

REQUIREMENT: This project is required to provide a 30MW technical load data center and infrastructure for 65MW technical load data center capacity to support mission. The project will include the following:


  • Facility design goal will be to the highest LEED standard attainable within available resources and will include: sustainable site characteristics, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources criteria, and indoor environmental quality.
  • Mechanical and electrical plants are to be housed in separate structures to prevent transfer of noise and vibrations to the data centers


  • Data center technical load of 30 MW distributed across raised floor are the design parameters for the facility.
  • The infrastructure support and administrative areas will be designed to support state-of-the-art high-performance computing devices and associated hardware architecture.
  • Slab floor loading of approximately 1500 pounds per square foot (PSF)
  • Enhancements to the building for IT and security include construction as a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF), as well as, requirements related to Antiterrorism Force Protection (ATFP).


  • Technical load will be distributed across the data center areas.
  • Seismic considerations are to be made in the facility design.
  • Data center areas are to have depressed concrete slab construction with a load bearing capacity of 1500 pounds per square foot (PSF).
  • Facility command and control contained in a central modular office component.
  • Facility will have a loading dock with vehicle bays, three (3) of which are to be equipped with dock levelers sized to handle tractor trailers.


  • Technical load capacity is 30 MW with loads distributed evenly across the data center areas.
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to either PDU level or distribution panel level if required
  • Dedicated substation for each critical UPS.
  • UPS and generator backup for facility systems.
  • Generators will include Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) pollution control equipment, chemical storage tanks and feed system.


  • Chilled water system to support both air and water cooled equipment.
  • Each data center area is to have air cooled and water cooled equipment with Computer Room Air Handlers (CRAHs) located external to the raised floor area. The piping headers / systems are to be designed to accommodate future expansion.
  • Back-up capability for mechanical equipment.
  • Cooling Towers
  • Air distribution redundancy for CRAHs.
  • Fire Protection – Double interlocked pre-action fire protection system for all electrical and mechanical support spaces.
  • Wet pipe for administrative and raised floor areas per DOD standards.

Security systems

  • Video surveillance
  • Intrusion detection
  • Access control system

2  Comments on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.
  • SpyMoose
    Well... found out where I'll be applying when I head to graduate school. Thanks!
    625 pointsBadges:
  • PaulWeb
    Of course wasn't isn't mentioned in this article is that the budget of 1.6 billion is just the start. Once all the pork and bloat starts to acrue I'm sure it will end up costing twice this price. Especially when you consider this is a top security priority, so all budget overages will likely be approved out of hand. Regards, Paul
    0 pointsBadges:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: