Mega Data Center: Seeing is Believing

Over the past few months I had heard exclamations of amazement regarding a storied new data center in the Nevada desert called SuperNAP. I was a bit skeptical of the superlatives about scale and efficiency that embellished these stories. My skepticism turned to exuberance last week when I joined a group of architects from Sun for a tour.  The goal of our tour of this Mega Data Center was to see first hand the state of the art as implemented by Switch Communications, where Sun operates it's cloud computing business.

Switch, and it's customers, which include several operating units within Sun, are beneficiaries of the collapse of Enron. The former utility giant had designs on trading network bandwidth using models similar to their energy trading systems. When Enron's flimsy financial structure gave way, their financial backers and the U.S. government stepped in to auction these assets. Switch CEO Rob Roy was the only one that showed up at the auction block.  In an uncanny twist of fate, he managed to side step what could have been a formidable bidding war to control this hub of communication that is unparalleled in North America.

Here are the vital stats that only begin to describe the phenomenal facility that Switch has managed to assemble:
  • 407K square feet of data center floor space
  • 100 Mw of power provisioned from two separate power grids
  • Fully redundant power to every rack, backed by N+2 power distribution across the facility
  • Enough cooling and power density to run at 1,500 watts per square foot (that's 10x the industry average 150 watts).
  • 27 National network carries
This describes the capacity of the SuperNAP, which is just one of the eight facilities operated by Switch within a 6-7 mile radius in a no-fly zone south of Las Vegas.

Sun to Reveal Cloud Plans Tomorrow

Some details of Sun's Cloud Computing business will be revealed tomorrow (March 18) in New York at the CommunityOne East event.


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