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OneNeck’s Madison Data Center is Expanding

Posted On: May 11, 2017

Topic: Data Centers

OneNeck data centerOneNeck has energized the sixth data room (DR6) at our Madison data center, located in nearby Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The project team completed the installation of critical electrical and mechanical infrastructure in remarkable time to meet a customer commitment.

The project started in earnest on January 1st and was granted occupancy on March 27th. During the next few months our utility partner, Madison Gas & Electric, will install a fourth 1.5 mW power generator. Moreover, OneNeck will install another 275 ton chiller to augment the Madison facility cooling capacity.

Built in phases, the Madison data center now has 6 data rooms fully functional.

  • Phase 1, completed in 2008, built a business-operations center, DR1 and DR2, and installed the mechanical and electrical systems to support DR1 and DR2 customer loads
  • Phase 2, completed in 2012, added DR 3-4-5-6 structural shell components, and installed mechanical and electrical systems to support DR3 and DR4 customer load
  • Phase 3A, installed the mechanical and electrical systems to support DR5 customer loads, which was also notably completed in quick fashion and energized in early 2016
  • Phase 3B, installed the mechanical and electrical systems to support DR6 customer loads, and also increase cooling and generation capacity for all 6 data rooms and customer loads

The Madison facility was designed and built to meet industry datacenter standards of concurrent maintainability for all components, and both fault tolerance and compartmentalization for certain critical electrical systems. Overall, the facility encompasses over 60,000 SF of data floor, command center, staging/shipping, office/meeting rooms, mechanical rooms, and electrical rooms space.

Prior to making any data room available for customer use, OneNeck hires an independent, certified, engineering firm to provide a rigorous testing and commissioning process, called Cx in the industry. This includes testing of all critical mechanical, electrical, and control infrastructure that supports a customer load. Normal operation, operation under fault conditions, and operation under maximum load conditions are all test and validated.

Cx tests the readiness and responsiveness of a datacenter under all kinds of operating conditions. Cx is also a powerful check to ensure our facility meets our design standards. Moreover, Cx assures OneNeck and our customers that the infrastructure provides a reliable, resilient, and energy efficient operating environment.

OneNeck IT services employeeWe sat down with Terry Matula, OneNeck Project Manager – Large Facilities, to discuss the Cx process.    

How long have you been overseeing the Cx of new data centers and/or expansions?

I started with OneNeck in October 2015 to watch over the Madison DR5 build out and Cx. For DR6, I have been involved from project inception. I also settled project completions and Cx for the Denver Datacenter, and handled less complex construction and commissioning activities in other facilities, such as in Tempe and Bend.

What kinds of Cx tests are performed on the site to ensure availability and operation?

The most important take place in three sequential steps in a Cx process. First, an installation contractor and the equipment maker will energize or start a component, and make sure it runs as advertised. Second, the installation contractor and Cx agent validate that every major component and independent system and its redundant counterparts run as expected. Third, the Cx agent validates that the entire integrated critical systems in a facility all operate as designed, under any kind of possible operating mode, across any possible failure scenario.

If any of the tests do not result in the expected results what is the process for rectifying the discrepancy?

During the Cx process, the installation contractors and the Cx agent will flag any problems that might occur, or notify us of issues that could limit the effectiveness of the facility or staff. The project team will then correct the discrepancy, and the tests will be repeated. This retest process continues until we resolve every unexpected performance result.

How often and how many times are these tests conducted?

After a system has been commissioned and placed into operations, OneNeck has stringent maintenance schedules which often include steps for re-commissioning and re-testing. We routinely bring equipment technicians and specialists to the datacenter to test, verify performance, service, repair, replace, and maintain critical infrastructure. This occurs monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually across hundreds of components and systems.  However, under no circumstance, do we take the risk of turning this production environment serving our customers into a testing laboratory which risks their businesses.  This is why building a data center that is, minimally, concurrently maintainable is so essential.

IT services equipment

Here is DR6 in late December. In less than 90 days the project team will expend 25,000 labor hours and install 234,000 lbs. of mechanical and electrical equipment. In May an additional chiller and generator add 260,000 lbs. to the project, bringing the total project installation to 495,000 lbs.


data center IT solutions wiring

During DR6 commissioning, 11 electrical load banks in the center of the photo were temporarily cabled to 18 power distribution units (PDUs) to the right. The PDUs are the final point of distribution of electrical power to an eventual customer load. The load banks simulate the power consumption and heat generation from the customer loads. Each PDU is tested to full capacity, and then the entire data room is tested to full capacity.


network hosting and cloud storage room

The finished, customer ready DR6 --- with 20 customer cabinets installed, wired, powered, and ready for customer equipment.


IT services hosting room

Here is the same electrical, 90 days later. Housed in the black cabinets are the UPS modules. In the foreground, the commissioning agent is setting up to test them. At Madison, six electrical rooms each contain four 500 kVA modules to support customer loads, and two 160 kVA modules that support power supply to the mechanical cooling systems.


IT solutions network hosting air flow

The load banks are essentially big toasters with six high-capacity blowers. At Madison, those 11 toasters simulate a customer load of 800 kW from 160 potential customer cabinets. Put another way, that’s 800 common kitchen toasters all going at once and never turning off. That is why Madison has a sophisticated cooling system to ensure an ideal customer environment.

OneNeck data center employee servicing network

Here are two of the three main air-handling units (AHUs) at Madison during testing. Each AHU has a coil inside supplied by chilled water piping. Each AHU fan blows a large amount of air across the coil into air ducts that serve DR6 and the electrical rooms. A third AHU provides redundancy and concurrent maintainability to the system. When the load banks are running, the Cx team runs each AHU through a range of tests, load steps, and system disruptions.

OneNeck® IT Solutions operates nine state-of-the-art data centers throughout the United States. These data centers have exceptional security, redundant connectivity and climate controlled environments ideal for both public and private network applications. Click below to take a virtual data center tour or contact us today for an in-person tour!

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