Data Center Designed for 500 Watts/SF

Is a Hillsboro, Oregon data center engineered for 500 watts/sf really the world's highest density data center?

If you track the data center industry, you're probably used to seeing impressive numbers for power loads and data center engineering. But I took notice of a mention of "the world's highest density data center at 500 Watts/SF" in an article at Data Center Journal (link via John Rath). The story, which announces a new Denver-area data center for CH2M HILL, makes a passing reference to the fact that the engineering firm designed this way-high-density data center.

So who's the tenant requiring 500 watts per square foot? The project is described in a PDF document on the CH2M Hill web site, noting that the project is for a "confidential client." The IDC Architects web site has additional information, which doesn't name the client but identifies the facility's location - Hillsboro, Oregon. Some quick Googling reveals that Hillsboro is the site of several data centers, including facilities operated by Fortix/ViaWest and The Spine Group. But the obvious suspect in Hillsboro is the Sun Solution Center where Sun Microsystems runs stress tests on high-performance computing applications.


"The HPC benchmarking group runs numerically intense scientific or technical applications in fields such as MCAE, seismic processing, financial modeling, signal processing, oil reservoir simulation, and computational fluid dynamics," Sun notes in describing its work at Hillsboro. That would explain why Sun would need all that power capacity.

Is this the "world's highest density data center?" I suspect there may be others in this range in the works. If you know of an installation with similar specs, feel free to share your insight in the comments. In any event, the documents are an interesting read.

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