Greater Lafayette Information Technology Society

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March 20, 2012
Bob Verplank, Computer Visions

Data Centers

The first speaker was Eric George with the Purdue data center. He graduated from Ball State University in 2000, was with Butler University, and Appnuity, an Indianapolis tech company, before he came to the Purdue Research Foundation. McClure Services is a for profit entity that manages the data center in the Purdue Research Park.

Essential infrastructure for a datacenter include:

Power

Power is provided by Duke energy with a backup generator which can be producing full power within 30 seconds of start up. They use UPS by APC to provide power for the 30 seconds before the generator reaches its peak. They have adequate controls on the power to assure that the power is clean.

Network connectivity

Network connectivity is assured with multiple feeds, multiple carriers, redundant routes for both the carrier and the customer, with ethernet circuits and fiber circuits to the customers with backups which can be assured by Wintek.

Cooling

Cooling is provided with a Liebert unit that provides cooling and humidity control. This unit is under a planned maintenance contract for proactive maintenance needs. The humidity is set for 45% and the temperature is set for 72° to 86°.

Security

Security is provided by keycard, security cameras, biometrics, a block wall, security keys, and escorted access of the customer to his server if necessary after hours. Access to the cabinet may be granted.

Fire protection

The servers are protected by an inert gas which is FM 200.

Support structure

They have a help desk, a phone with automated attendant, to pass on a message to someone on call during off-hours. The generator is tested weekly. Currently they have four empty cabinets, and 20 in current use. Future expansion is possible. A starting number for cabinet rental would be $750 per month. Data storage off-site is possible and on-site through the use of NAS and may also be stored off-site at an alternate location such as Wintek.

 


Our second speaker was Travis Bailey, of Wintek Corporation. He talked about why a data center was a good idea. The need exists for backup, clean power, cooling, physical space, network connectivity, access controls, and expansion.

Different companies will have different requirements which may be arranged in tiers dependent upon how much system redundancy and uptime are required.

Power and UPS

They have a backup generator for backup power which has two fuel systems, one of natural gas and the other of LP gas to provide a redundant and long-lasting fuel source. They have a UPS system that includes hot-swappable batteries and hot-swappable power inverters. The UPS uses power from Duke Energy (or the backup generator) to charge the batteries and the redundant inverter modules use power from the batteries to create clean power for equipment. Their power is cleaned up by different circuits, is metered, and they attempt to balance all three phases of their electrical load in order that the generator runs smoothly, efficiently, and with the best performance.

Cooling

Their heating, ventilation, and cooling comes from split units with outdoor compressors and either wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted indoor air-handling units. They use multiple units for redundancy, so that in the event one system fails the other can take over.

Network

They too have multiple Internet upstream connections from different vendors over different circuits and they may be used separately or jointly.

Backup

They can back up the customer data on-site, at the PRF facility, the downtown Indianapolis site (Lifeline), and Carmel (NFrame) and Ft. Wayne (Indiana Data Center).

Physical layout

Because of their basement location, their wiring must run overhead instead of in a computer floor. They pay attention to having separate overhead racks for network wiring and for power wiring. Their power is three-phase 208 Volts. They have a water sensor and a temperature sensor.

Access

Access is by key card for building access and also for the rack if required by customer.

 

There were 24 people in attendance at Puccini's.