As one of the nation’s largest dental plan administrators, Delta Dental of Michigan has to keep up with millions of documents and records per year. When Walbridge renovated and expanded the company’s Okemos, Mich. campus, constructing a new state of the art remote data center was first on the “to do” list.
The resulting facility earned a Tier III rating from the Uptime Institute, which evaluates data centers on criteria related to a facility’s ability to maintain operations regardless of power failures or natural catastrophes.
Keep Your Cool
Keeping equipment cool was a challenge for the design team and Walbridge. Since cooling can account for as much as 60 percent of the energy cost of a data center, special designs to improve cooling efficiency called for adjustments on the construction side. For example, the new data center’s floor is 36 inches deep, deeper than a standard floor.
The difference in depth helps make the movement of air through the server room more efficient. A series of mechanical units positioned throughout the building take “waste” heat, cools it, and directs it back to where it’s needed.
The cooling systems and generators had to be built in walled-off areas. Heavy, tornado-proof doors were installed and a layered roof comprised of metal, rubberized roofing and concrete covers the building. The combination makes for one sturdy structure.
Lots of Servers
When it opened for business, the data center housed approximately 250 servers in 5,000 square feet of space. (It was built to handle up to 1,000 servers.) The remaining 17,500 square feet house all of the mechanical and electrical equipment required to keep data flowing to and from Delta’s Michigan headquarters. The facility has an IT load of 1MW.