The state of Tennessee’s primary data center is slowly sinking, prompting the state to invest $68 million to build two new data centers in Nashville and Smyrna. The two new facilities will be ready in 2010. State officials are hoping the existing data center will last that long, but is appears to be a race against time and the elements. Here’s a description from The Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Constructed on a landfill in the midst of a downtown Nashville flood plain, parts of the state’s Data Center are shifting and cracking. The center requires constant monitoring, and some areas are too unstable for storing heavy computer equipment. “The back end of it, it sinks into the old landfill, and we have to prop it up, apparently on a fairly routine basis, so it’s not secure,” state Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said.
Another concern is flooding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found major structural problems at the Wolf River Dam near Jamestown, Ky., and is working to repair the dam. “If the Wolf River Dam breaks, up on the Cumberland, (the Data Center) will be under about 12 feet of water, which is also hard on computers,” said Goetz.
The 70,000-square-foot data center is located near the state capitol and handles most computer functions for the executive branch, from health services to driver’s licensing processes. The facility is about 20 years old.
The state will spend $1.32 million to acquire a 15-acre site in Smyrna, and will build a second facility on land the state already owns north of downtown. The move to two facilities will provide the state with redundant backup of its critical systems. Mark Bengel, the state’s deputy chief information officer, said that there are currently “a large number of state systems that do not have a disaster recovery capability and those systems would certainly not be able to function.”