Oregon School Licenses Dome Data Center Design to Startup
Oregon Health and Science University’s dome-shaped data center in Beaverton, Oregon, can support up to 25 kW per rack without a single chiller or CRAH unit. (Photo: OHSU)

Oregon School Licenses Dome Data Center Design to Startup

By using natural convection, the university eliminated lots of cooling equipment and reduced energy use

The unique dome-shaped data center design used for Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) supercomputer facility in Hillsboro is being licensed by a new startup, Server Dome, which plans to build more on a commercially available basis, reported the Portland Business Journal.

Perry Gliessman, director of technology services for the university’s IT Group, is the mastermind behind the design which encompasses 8,000 square feet, 4MW of power and racks that can support 25kW of hardware.

More about the data center design: Geodesic Dome Makes Perfect Data Center Shell in Oregon

When Gliessman sat down to design the Hillsboro Data Dome, which opened in 2014, he said he took the need for structural integrity into consideration, as well as the need to support extreme power densities with an economy of space, while using as much free cooling as possible. That meant maximizing outside-air intake and exhaust surface area.

The dome data center design, according to Server Dome, helped reduce the required mechanical systems in the facility to just one—the Air Handling Units. By using natural convection, the university eliminated cooling equipment like air conditioning units, exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, chillers and CRACs, helping make considerable savings on electricity costs.

It resulted in at least a 30 percent reduction in construction costs and an 80 percent reduction in maintenance costs, when compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar building.

OHSU built the $22 million Data Dome on the West Campus in Beaverton to share the workload of its primary data center in downtown Portland.

Server Dome described the facility as “virtually maintenance-free”, adding that it should last for 15 to 20 years.

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