Switch Unveils New SuperNAP 8 in Las Vegas


A cross section of the new SuperNAP 8 in Las Vegas, describing several of the facility’s design innovations. Click the image to see a larger version. (Image: Switch)

The new SuperNAP is here. And like the original SuperNAP, a huge Las Vegas data center that debuted in 2009, the new SuperNAP 8 includes a number of design innovations. These include a double-reinforced roof, an updated rack containment system that incorporates thermal storage, and a refinement to its custom cooling units to add an on-board backup power system.

Switch, the Las Vegas colocation provider that has developed the SuperNAPs, says the new design elements will enable “unparalleled capacity and density levels” and make SuperNAP 8 one of the most advanced data centers in the world.

“It is our mission at Switch to solve problems, develop smart systems and think beyond tomorrow for the benefit of our clients, and SuperNAP 8 is a direct result of this mission,” said Rob Roy, the CEO and founder of Switch.

Campus Capacity of 20,000 Cabinets

SuperNAP 8 is part of a multi-phase expansion announced by Switch in 2011, which will include at least one more data center on its current Las Vegas campus. The company says the new facility provides capacity for Switch to house up to 20,000 cabinets on its campus, with capacity of up to 200 megawatts of power. The company has also announced plans to develop a campus in North Las Vegas.

Switch hosts more than 600 customers in its seven data centers in Las Vegas, including the 400,000 square foot SuperNAP, now known as SuperNAP 7.

Switch has created its own custom infrastructure, designed and patented by Roy, which includes a high-density airflow containment system known as T-SCIF and  custom cooling units which can switch between four different types of cooling based on outside conditions. SuperNAP 8 introduces new features on both these components, building in additional protection for customer equipment in the event of a power failure or a major storm.

  • The T-SCIF units in SuperNAP 8 include a temperature control system known as Iron Black Forest. “The steel infrastructure matrix that supports the T-SCIF system radiates cold stored thermal energy that intentionally allows for the facility to achieve HVAC resiliency ratings above elite industry standards,” Switch says.
  • Switch has also introduced Rotofly, an expanded version of its multi-mode HVAC unit that incorporates a flywheel to provide emergency backup power to keep the cooling system operating during a power loss. A flywheel, also sometimes known as a rotary UPS, is a spinning cylinder that generates power from kinetic energy, continuing to spin when grid power is interrupted. The flywheels are only being used to support the cooling units, while the servers and other mission-critical equipment will continue to be supported by battery UPS units and backup generators.
  • SuperNAP 8 also includes Switch SHIELD, a redundant data center roofing system that offers two steel roof decks, each rated to survive winds of up to 200 MPH.  The two roof decks are located nine feet apart and are attached to the concrete and steel shell of the facility and contain no roof penetrations. The sturdier roof addresses a timely concern in the wake of recent tornado outbreaks, which have included two powerful EF-5 tornados in Oklahoma in recent weeks.

These new features add an additional comfort level for customers running high-density server installations at the SuperNAP. Switch  will provide additional information about SuperNAP 8 next week, when an official announcement of its opening is likely.

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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 cant wait to tour this new set-up! Looking forward to bringing VMware Hybrid Cloud candidates out there...

  2. SuperNAP is impressive! I visited SuperNAP 7 during EMC World 2013 with the EMC Elect team and it was awesome. These people know what they're doing. Very impressive.