Switch SuperNAP 8

The view from inside the hot air return plenum at SuperNAP 8 in Las Vegas. Server exhaust heat from the data halls enters this chamber before being returned to the cooling units. (Photo: Switch)

SuperNAP 8 Earns Tier IV Gold Status for Operations

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Uptime isn’t just about having a resilient facility. Human error is among the leading causes of data center outages, underlining the importance of a well-trained staff and operational best practices.

The team at Switch in Las Vegas has now met the highest standards on both fronts. After earning Tier IV certification from the Uptime Institute earlier this year, Switch’s SuperNAP 8 has now added Tier IV Gold certification for Operational Sustainability.

SuperNAP 8 is the newest facility on the Switch campus. The 350,000 square foot facility was built using pre-fabricated modular components manufactured by Switch, and features new innovations in cooling and power distribution. In February it became the first colocation facility to earn Tier IV Construction certification from Uptime.

Recognizing the human factor

Uptime now says Switch has met its highest standards for managing its data centers. The operational sustainability standard recognizes the human factors in running a data center, as well as the design of the facility to meet fault tolerant standards.

The design and operations of SuperNAP 8 “uniquely expresses harmony of technology, staff, and operational processes, which is key to sustained availability,” said Lee Kirby, the CTO of the Uptime Institute.

“Switch’s SUPERNAP 8, MOD1 is one of only four data centers around the world, and the first in the U.S. colocation market, to truly demonstrate Fault Tolerance throughout the design, construction, commissioning, and operations,” said Kirby. “Switch’s achievement of Tier IV Gold with a modular design and construction solution further speaks to that team’s sophistication.”

The only other data centers to have earned Tier IV Gold status are the Telefonica data center in Spain; a US Bancorp site in Kansas, and a municipal facility serving the Province of Ontario in Canada. Switch becomes the first carrier-neutral colocation data center to earn the designation.

Innovations in cooling, containment

SuperNAP 8 is the latest design from Rob Roy, the CEO and founder of Switch, as well as the company’s principal inventor and chief engineer. It sits adjacent to SuperNAP 7, the 400,000 square foot center that put Switch on the map. Roy has patented many of the design innovations at the facilities, including an advanced cooling system which can switch between six different cooling modes, and the T-SCIF heat containment system.

Switch now has more than 1,000 customers, including more than 40 cloud computing companies and a dense concentration of network carriers.

“I have seen countless data centers around the globe, and nothing comes close to the Switch SUPERNAP data centers,” said Peter Gross of Bloom Energy, a data center design pioneer as founder of EYP Mission Critical Facilities. “Rob Roy has revolutionized modern data center design and has created a technology ecosystem that is unrivaled in the industry. This achievement of Tier IV Gold from Uptime is incredibly well-deserved and thoroughly earned.”

SuperNAP 8 was built using a modular approach known as SwitchMOD. Each MOD features two 10MVA power rooms and two separate data halls, each with a capacity of 800 cabinets. Some of the innovations in SuperNAP 8 include:

  • The Rotofly system, which uses 2,000 pounds of rotary flywheels to provide extended runtime for each HVAC unit. In the event of a power outage, this capability ensures that the cooling units will continue to move air through the data halls.
  • A steel framework known as the Black Iron Forest, which supports Switch’s T-SCIF aisle containment system (known as a T-SCIF) while also helping to cool the data centers by serving as thermal storage, chilling the air around it to help cool the room and provide a cushion during cooling failures.
  • SwitchSHIELD, a double-roof system that can protect the data center from wind speeds of up 200 miles per hour.

Currently SUPERNAP 9 and 10 are under construction, which will add capacity for 130 megawatts of power and up to 8,000 cabinets. “They are already 22 percent sold before construction is finished,” said Missy Young, EVP of Colocation at Switch.

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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