Inside Terremark's Culpeper Data Fortress (Part 2)

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But Laudermilch said that key government clients told Terremark that they wanted to be at least 50 to 60 miles outside of Washington, insulated from regional disasters. Culpeper has a history as a government haven from nuclear disaster.

The NAP of the Capital Region is located across the highway from Mount Pony, an underground Federal Reserve facility that was established in 1969 as a “continuity of government” bunker to oversee the rebuilding of the US economy in the event of a catastrophe. In 1997 the facility was transferred to the Library of Congress, and now serves as a digital archive for the library’s electronic records.

That legacy has a major advantage for Terremark – fiber-optic infrastructure to support the Fed’s electronic funds transfer, and later the large-file transfers for the Library of Congress. Several fiber providers have recently invested in extending their networks to the Culpeper NAP.


The facility also has plenty of power: it will open with two 30-megawatt power feeds from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, and in the fall will add a third 30-megawatt feed from Dominion Virginia Power. Each of the five planned 50,000 square foot data centers at the site will be supported by 11 Caterpillar 2.25 megawatt generators, for a total of 55 generators once the campus is completed. To support those generators, the NAP of the Capital Region can store up to 520,000 gallons of diesel fuel on site.

Terremark’s data centers at the NAP of the Capital Region will use a two-story design, with most of the electrical equipment on the first floor, while the second floor houses the raised-floor area. The generators are housed in a separate enclosure.

“Our goal was to maximize the usable square footage,” said Laudermilch. “We went through an analysis of what equipment really needed to be on the data center floor, and we settled on the PDUs and air conditioning. Everything else went on the lower floor.”

The two-story design separating IT and mechanical equipment is similar to the approach taken by Power Loft, a new facility to the north in Manassas, which is also focusing on government clients. There are some differences – Power Loft houses all its cooling infrastructure on the first floor – but the adoption of this approach by two new energy-conscious facilities suggests we may see this design more often in the future.

The NAP of the Capital Region will also feature a 72,000 square foot administration building, which will house office space for clients for business continuity purposes. Despite the distance from Washington, Terremark says it has had no trouble recruiting skilled staff. Laudermilch said the company recently held an open house to try and fill 14 positions. More than 800 applicants applied.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.