Inside Terremark’s Culpeper Data Fortress

“If there were a more secure location, you wouldn’t be able to find it.” That’s how Terremark Worldwide (TMRK) describes the NAP of the Capital Region, its new $250 million data center project in Culpeper, Virginia.

The data center is ringed with a 10-foot-high fence topped with barbed wire, which stands at the outer edge of a 150-foot security perimeter populated with large earthen berms to slow intruders. The front entrance to the facility is protected by a 14-inch thick wall of solid concrete. All staff and visitors must pass through an enclosed “man trap” and several layers of biometric security before entering the facility.

No cars are allowed into the main campus housing the customer equipment. Vehicles making deliveries must pass through a “car trap” – a pair of concrete barriers that rise out of the roadway to restrict access during inspections – before proceeding to the equipment reception building, a separate facility from the main data center with a facade of bullet-proof glass.

The new facility is the lynchpin of Terremark’s push to capture additional market share in the market for ultra-secure government hosting. The 50,000 square foot first phase of the Culpeper data center doesn’t open until June 25, but Data Center Knowledge got an advance look at the site last week.

Terremark has designed the NAP of the Capital Region to support the latest approaches to energy-efficiency and high-density computing. But security is the primary selling point for the new data center, which is optimized for government security agencies.

“We set out to build the most secure data center you’ve ever seen,” said Norm Laudermilch, Managing Director of the NAP of the Capital Region for Terremark. “We set out to find all the security requirements the government and security agencies have, and built this facility to meet or exceed every requirement imaginable.”

That attention to government tenants appears to be paying off. Terremark has already met its goal of pre-leasing 20 percent of the space, with a leading systems integrator for government agencies, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) on board as the anchor tenant.

One of the key selling points, according to Terremark, is the site’s location. Culpeper is about 65 miles south of Washington, while most of northern Virginia’s 45 data centers are clustered in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, immediately south of Washington. Many in the industry, including some of Terremark’s competitors, were skeptical that tenants would consider a facility that far south.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large 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.