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GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES COMPANY

Southern CA

DSI Delivers a Live Data Center Expansion with No Downtime and Within Budget

An international automobile company with 70 years of progress and innovation needs to expand.

THE CHALLENGE:

An international global technology services company supporting two major automotive manufacturers, as well as their affiliate businesses in the North and South American markets, had an existing data center in southern California that was reaching the maximum limits of physical space, in addition to electrical and cooling capacities. To sustain operations, the company planned to expand the data center facility.

The plan to build the new section included converting office space to expand the physical data center space within the confines of the overall structure. The existing site had significant limitations for placement of electrical and cooling infrastructure. The data center is located in a high-profile corporate campus office facility, and the new cooling towers and standby generators could not be visible, meaning that the support infrastructure had to fit within the existing space.

In addition to these limitations, the existing data center, which every day supports millions of dollars of revenue for the company, had to remain active throughout the entire construction period.

THE DSI SOLUTION:  A Design That Included a Complete Replacement of the Mechanical and Electrical Infrastructure, Met Energy Efficiency Requirements, and Allowed the Facility to Remain Operational During Construction

Senior management approved the design that used scalable, modular infrastructure. This scalable infrastructure allowed for the design of electrical and mechanical systems that could be expanded in the future with minimal impact to facility and operations as the hardware load grows.

In addition to ensuring that the facility remain open during construction, the client required that the new mechanical systems fit into the footprint of the existing systems. Because these systems are large and require a significant amount of space, most data center mechanical heat rejection systems are located outdoors to reject the heat from the computer hardware. In this project, the new design required tripling the capacity of the cooling systems – in the same footprint as the existing systems, while they remained operational. To accomplish this, the new systems were constructed on a steel platform above the existing equipment.  Once the new mechanical systems were operational, the older systems were removed, and the vacated space was used for standby generators.

A chilled water based in-row cooling solution using a cold aisle containment system solved the cooling problems and enabled increased equipment rack power density, while leaving the existing raised floor system in place.

The local power company installed a new utility service dedicated to the data center.  The existing backup generators and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems were replaced using larger, more efficient and scalable technology. The design topology of the electrical system was upgraded to a 2N distributed redundant design to eliminate single points of failure and make the system more maintainable.

Overhead busways left the existing underfloor power whips in place until the new systems were put online and it was possible to completely commission the new busway prior to transferring the critical load to the new system. When it was time to switch to the new system, the existing dual powered equipment racks were transferred circuit by circuit to the new busway without any interruption of power.

THE RESULTS: A Robust Design/Build Approach that Ensured that the Flexible, Scalable System Was Installed While the Existing Computer Systems Were Left in Place, the Data Center Remained Operational with No Downtime, and the Project Stayed within Budget.

Working in an operational data center is a major challenge and should only be performed by construction teams experienced at working in live mission critical facilities. Effectively completing a project like this requires a lengthy planning, budget and design phase to allow the client company to identify risks to data center operations and select the best possible design to meet their corporate objectives. This project was delivered on-time, on-budget, and without issuance of any change orders. The one stop shopping of hiring a design/build provider for data centers minimizes risk for the client company and provides a smoother process for the project.