Bluebird Underground – Planning on the Demands of Data
Bluebird Network recognizes the growing need for Internet connectivity, the Internet of Things, social media demands and the constant collection of “big data” for advanced analytics has increased the pressure of change for data centers and how we meet this challenge. Without exception, we must continue to meet the data demand with a guaranteed level of service and cost control. Staying ahead of the data demand is key to staying successful. Forecasting this demand accurately while maintaining the optimal level of service is not easy, but a successful balance between these two necessities results in a high-quality data center.
Bluebird Network supports the Bluebird Underground Data Center, our underground data center. Bluebird Underground is currently preparing for its second expansion in less than four years, with the goal to increase customer space and fortify the electrical infrastructure to make the facility stronger, more reliable and prepared to meet the changing demands of a 24×7 networked world. Both new and existing customers will benefit from the expansion in three main areas: space, power and efficiency.
This expansion is the second of three planned expansions since Bluebird Network acquired the data center in 2014. The first expansion, completed in 2016, added approximately 4,000 square-feet of customer space. The second expansion will add an additional 4,700 square-feet, bringing the total to 22,300 square-feet of customer space. The third expansion will add approximately 7,000 square-feet in the near future. This space is uniquely designed to meet customer expectations for functionality, operational efficiency and reliability.
While increased customer space is the most obvious benefit of this next expansion, it must be supported by a highly reliable mechanical and electrical infrastructure for both the cooling and UPS sub-systems. Bluebird Underground is uniquely designed in that all of its critical infrastructure is underground, making full use of the inherent protection of the surrounding limestone mine. This expansion includes a third 2MW generator, a third utility service, a second completely independent Uninterruptible Power System (UPS) including flywheel technology and an oversized generator fuel tank, further enforcing the facility’s 100 percent uptime guarantee duration.
This expansion not only includes infrastructure improvements and customer space, but also advancements in the operational software control systems. In an above-ground data center, many critical path systems are necessary to deliver the optimal customer operating environment. Being below ground, Bluebird Underground experiences an average of 59.6 degrees year-round. However, the collective concentration of computing resources from customer operations create a tremendous amount of heat which must be efficiently removed. The ensemble of systems to accomplish this removal includes hot aisle/cold aisle room configurations, a 2.4 MW chilled water-cooling loop and five 5’ diameter fans to physically pull the cool mine air across the chillers and generators and then push it out an 18’ diameter exhaust shaft to the surface. With this expansion, Bluebird Underground will be able to extract additional cool air from the entire 5 million square foot mine via a second 8’ diameter exhaust shaft to increase our mechanical cooling capabilities.
People frequently mention “necessity is the mother of invention” to describe creative and alternative solutions. Applying this meaning to “digital necessities” mentioned at the beginning of this blog, describes the reason we continue our commitment to “match the pace” of data demand, while improving operations, quality and customer service.