A look at the chillers supporting a DuPont Fabros data center in Ashburn, Virginia. A similar installation is supporting its NJ1 facility in New Jersey.

DuPont Fabros Building Big in New Jersey

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At more than 1,100 feet in length, the DuPont Fabros Technology NJ1 data center is about the length of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. Upon its completion, more than 500 miles of conduit will run through the facility, bringing fiber and power to customer servers. To ensure an uninterrupted flow of electricity to those servers, the data center will be supported by 32 huge 2.25 megawatt generators and a like number of rotary UPS units.

DuPont Fabros enters the New Jersey market with big ambitions and a big data center. NJ1 is officially scheduled to open in November, but is already seeing active interest from prospective customers, according to Colton Brown, Regional Director of Sales & Leasing for DFT. It will be the company’s second foray beyond its home base of Northern Virginia, following an expansion into the Chicago area in 2008.

Hot Wholesale Market
The new DuPont Fabros facility reinforces the emergence of central New Jersey as a market for wholesale data center space, in which a tenant leases dedicated, fully-built data center space. Digital Realty Trust (DLR) has been an early mover in the central Jersey market, with buildings in Piscataway, Somerset and South Bound Brook. Meanwhile, Sentinel Data Centers and Russo Development have begun construction on a large multi-tenant wholesale data center facility in Somerset.

DFT’s 38-acre site in Piscataway, N.J. follows a standard design adopted in the company’s ACC4 and ACC5 facilities in northern Virginia. The building features 360,000 square feet of space, and is being built in two phases. Each phase will feature 88,100 square feet of data center space atop a 42-inch raised floor.

The raised-floor space is subdivided into 10 pods, including six 11,000 square foot data halls, which each offer about 2.2 megawatts of critical load.

Megawatts as Leasing Metric
DuPont Fabros now describes all its leases in megawatts in its financial reporting. As data centers consume more power, electricity is the benchmark that matters. And DFT has plenty of it at NJ1, which has capacity of 36 megawatts of critical load, about enough to support 5,000 homes.

NJ1 also has four smaller data suites which are currently sized at 1.1 megawatts apiece, but can be customized to clients’ power and space needs.

“The flexibility is intentional,” said Lee Kestler, Senior Vice President of Sales and Leasing for DuPont Fabros. “We may see more smaller requirements than larger ones. In this market we expect to see 20 to 25 customers, instead of the 7 to 10 customers we see in Virginia. Our smaller rooms are attractive to these customers.”

Financial, Pharma Are Key Constituencies
Internet firms with large footprint requirements have been the lead tenants in DFT’s Virginia data centers. Kestler said the New Jersey customer mix is more likely to include financial services firms, media companies, and healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.

Security is always a key consideration for financial customers, and thus is an emphasis at NJ1, which has spacious setbacks behind a series of berms insulating the site from  local roads. On-site security includes multi-level access control, security cameras and 24×7 security staff.

NJ1 is the fourth data center Dupont Fabros has built using a design first implemented at ACC4 in Ashburn, Va. and refined slightly with subsequent builds at CH1, ACC5 and now New Jersey.

Water Capacity:1 Million Gallons
Each phase of the project includes a 500,000 gallon water tank, meaning NJ1 will be able to store 1 million gallons of water at completion.  The facility’s cooling system will be supported by 16 1,050-ton chillers. 

The cement superstructure for both phases of the data center is up and the critical infrastructure for phase one is largely in place. While the customer pods will be built in phases, the shell is completed up front.

“We’ve completed all our digging,” said Jim Bonney, Regional Vice President for DuPont Fabros. “We don’t want backhoes on the site (once customers are installed). When it comes to speed-to-market for phase two, we’re ready to go.”

As will be the diesel backup generators. One of the benefits of scale: DuPont Fabros orders 96 generators at a time from its vendor, Detroit Diesel, to avoid delays as it adds customers and phases.

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. Is the procurement of hardware in data centers centralized. And what are the most procured item categories after servers, between routers, switching, firewall, gbics & memory? What is the typical buyer title of the person that buys the gear? Researching this vertical, and help from the smart guys would be appreciated!