Interactive Tour: Cisco’s Flagship Data Center


Cisco Systems (CSCO) provides an inside look at the design and construction of its flagship data center in Richardson, Texas in a cool interactive presentation using a 3-D cross-section of the facility as the menu for an extensive gallery of videos and images. It features presentations about each section of the data center, along with videos from architect Andy Broer, facilities manager Aaron Allen, and a look at Cisco’s global data center strategy from vice president John Manville.

Cisco spent $80 million to retool an unused office building on its Richardson campus as a Tier III data center (with Tier IV power infrastructure) to support the consolidation of its global network.

The data center uses the first two floors of the four-story, 285,000 square foot building. Here are some of the specs for the facility:

  • Two 10-megawatt power feeds.
  • A “building-in-a-building” design that features a buffer hallways between the exterior windows and the four data halls.
  • Six 2.5 megawatt diesel generators, supported by four 1,200 gallon storage tanks.
  • A 25,000 gallon thermal storage tank that can store up to 5 hours of water supply for the facility in the event of a water system failure
  • A total of 30,000 square feet of data hall space.
  • A cooling system emloying a raised floor with perforated tiles in front of cabinets, and chimneys on top of each cabinets for complete hot air containment. The chimneys vent to a drop-ceiling plenum, which returns the waste heat to dozens of 30-ton air handlers.
  • Equipment galleries between the data halls that house Liebert air handlers.
  • On the second-floor, more than 1,900 UPS batteries provide backup power.

The presentation also features a look at a northern California data center where Cisco is implementing its Unified Computing System. It’s a ton of information, but provides a detailed overview of Cisco’s data center operations.  

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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.

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  1. I thought RCDN is a Tier III data center. What am I missing?

  2. Anand: You're correct. The "Tier II" reference was a typo, which I've corrected. My bad. The interactive tour makes it clear that it's a Tier III facility .

  3. Austin

    I wonder what their cost and capacity drivers look like? It looks pretty, but its got to be very expensive to install, operate, and maintain.