Data centers go underground.Byline: email@example.com (Staff)
As Hurricane Ike bore down on Houston one Friday last September, the Continental Airlines' flight operations center The facility or location on an installation, base, or facility used by the commander to command, control, and coordinate all crisis activities. See also base defense operations center; command center. , located on the 14th floor of a glass-sided downtown high rise, suddenly went dark. For the airline's pilots and flight crews, however, business proceeded as usual. <p>Here's why: At that same moment, 42 miles north of the city and some 60 feet underground -- in a hardened Cold-War era bunker built by a paranoid millionaire oilman Oil´man
n. 1. One who deals in oils; formerly, one who dealt in oils and pickles.
2. A person working in the petroleum industry, esp. an oil company executive.
Noun 1. to survive a nuclear holocaust Nuclear holocaust refers to the possibility of complete or nearly complete eradication of human civilization by nuclear warfare. Under such a scenario, all or most of the Earth is burnt and destroyed by nuclear weapons in future world war. -- Continental's backup data center took over. Throughout the ordeal -- from Friday morning, as the storm approached, through Saturday, when winds above the Westland Bunker in Montgomery, Texas Montgomery is a city located in Montgomery County, Texas. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 489. It is considered by many to be the birthplace of the Lone Star Flag of Texas. The town of Montgomery was founded by W. W. , gusted to 125 miles per hour, until Sunday evening, when operations resumed in Houston -- the airline managed an 89% on time rating for its global flight schedule. <p>Locating a backup data center in an underground bunker may seem like overkill overkill Vox populi An excess of anything , even in a hurricane zone. But the facility met all of the airline's requirements -- including cost, says John Stelly, managing director of technology at Continental. The bunker, run by real estate partnership Montgomery Westland, has been converted into 33,000 square feet of rack-ready data center space complete with air conditioning air conditioning, mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful. , redundant network and power sources, uninterruptible power supply See UPS.
(hardware) Uninterruptible Power Supply - (UPS) A battery powered power supply unit that is guaranteed to provide power to a computer in the event of interruptions in the incoming mains electrical power. systems and backup generators. <p>Continental leases 2,000 sq. feet underground and another 12,500 sq. feet of office space above ground, in a hardened building complete with 3-inch-thick bulletproof Refers to extremely stable hardware and/or software that cannot be brought down no matter what unusual conditions arise. See industrial strength.
bulletproof - Used of an algorithm or implementation considered extremely robust; lossage-resistant; capable of correctly windows. The airline can house its entire operations staff of up to 125 people at the backup site A backup site is a location where a business can easily relocate following a disaster, such as fire, flood, or terrorist threat. This is an integral part of the disaster recovery plan of a business. . <p>After Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. , Continental began looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a fallback fall·back
a. Something to which one can resort or retreat.
b. A retreat.
2. Computer Science data center for use during hurricanes. Westland "was far enough away to be out of harm's way beyond the danger limit; in a safe place.
See also: Out but close enough for folks to drive to," Stelly says. The blast-resistant facility is admittedly a bit much for even Continental's backup needs, but the four-feet-thick walls and high security entrance are nice extras, Stelly says. <p>Also, connectivity options at the Westland facility were a plus. The network and power feeds for the bunker were sourced from areas well away from Houston, while pricing was competitive with above-ground co-location facilities.<p>Rise of the underground<p>With a renewed focus on data center outsourcing and space in high availability Also called "RAS" (reliability, availability, serviceability) or "fault resilient," it refers to a multiprocessing system that can quickly recover from a failure. There may be a minute or two of downtime while one system switches over to another, but processing will continue. facilities in short supply, investors such as Montgomery Westland have snapped up and renovated abandoned mines and military bunkers in the hopes of cashing in. <p>Since 2007, for example, Cavern Technologies has operated a data center 125 feet below ground in an abandoned limestone mine. The mined out area underground, which covers 3 million sq. feet, is 15 minutes outside of Kansas City Kansas City, two adjacent cities of the same name, one (1990 pop. 149,767), seat of Wyandotte co., NE Kansas (inc. 1859), the other (1990 pop. 435,146), Clay, Jackson, and Platte counties, NW Mo. (inc. 1850). , Mo. Unlike other mines, the Cavern facility was created with the idea of reuse in mind, so floor space isn't irregularly shaped like other underground facilities can be, says president John Clune. The area's relatively low electricity costs, at 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, help to make operating costs operating costs npl → gastos mpl operacionales lower than those in other parts of the country, he adds. <p>Another facility, The Bunker, is a decommissioned, 50,000 sq. foot Royal Air Force bunker that operated until the 1990s. The facility is inside a hill near Dover, England and it now hosts data centers 100 feet below ground. "People get a picture of a hole in the ground. That's not the case. It's a state-of-the-art data center," says Paul Lightfoot, director of managed services for The Bunker. Clients range from businesses running mission-critical Web applications to a financial services firm that runs online trading Online Trading
Making trades via the Internet.
The use of online trading increased dramatically in the mid to late 1990's with the advent of high-speed computers and Internet connections. Stocks, bonds, options, futures, and currencies can all be traded online. systems. "We do everything from basic square footage to fully maintained systems," he says. <p>Iron Mountain is among the oldest and best known providers of underground storage and data center space. Known for storing everything from backup tapes to old movie reels in The Underground, its repurposed limestone mine in rural Pennsylvania, the company has seen its electronic storage and leased data center space business increase while its traditional paper record storage business has slowed. "It is now the fastest growing component of our business," says vice president Charles Doughty. In addition to leasing rack-ready space, the company offers data center design, hosting and management services. <p>But while interest is up, the number of actual customers leasing space in its underground data centers remains small. Iron Mountain counts five operating data centers in its underground facility, including its own. But with 60,000 square feet of available data center space and another 145 acres undeveloped in the facility, Iron Mountain has plenty of room for more. <p>Underground data center facilities fall into two categories: Abandoned mines, like Iron Mountain's, and decommissioned military bunkers such as InfoBunker, a subterranean facility just outside of Des Moines, Iowa “Des Moines” redirects here. For other uses, see Des Moines (disambiguation).
Des Moines (pronounced /dɪˈmɔɪn/ in English, . InfoBunker leases data center space to organizations ranging from a local telephone company to government agencies about which Jeff Daniels, a vice president at the company, says he can't talk. <p>On the demand side, an increase in extreme weather events, heightened concerns about security since 9/11 and the need to provide higher levels of security to comply with regulatory requirements have made these spaces more attractive to some organizations. Underground facilities offer security and structural protections that would be cost prohibitive to build from scratch. <p>Meanwhile, the recession and credit crunch Credit Crunch
An economic condition whereby investment capital is difficult to obtain. Banks and investors become weary of lending funds to corporations thereby driving up the price of debt products for borrowers. have made it harder to get funding to build new data centers, and organizations have become more accepting of the idea of using co-location facilities to house mission-critical data center operations. "Demand for computer space is stronger than I've ever seen it [and] the supply is so small, so inadequate," says Peter Gross, vice president and general manager at HP Critical Facilities.<p>Basic co-location space isn't the problem, says Jon Bolen, chief technology officer at Westec Intelligent Surveillance. The surveillance-monitoring service, based in Des Moines Iowa, serves clients such as McDonald's Corp. and Zales Corp., and recently completed a search for a hardened facility for its own backup data center. During this search, Bolen saw a general lack of high-end infrastructure, of enterprise-class data center space. "If you need space that is as good or better than the space you would build there's a shortage of places you can go." <p>This shortage has given the underground facilities an opening to pull in larger data center clients. Cavern says it is negotiating with Fortune 500 clients looking to lease spaces of 30,000 to 100,000 square feet. However, most clients are smaller organizations that don't require so much space; more typical would be a hospital that leases 1,500 sq. feet. <p>One might assume that IT organizations would have to pay a premium for bunker space. After all, the cost of building such a structure is high, and special venting and air-flow systems are required. But IT executives say they've driven deals where the total cost of ownership is competitive with above-ground facilities. Because they're repurposing existing space that the government or a mine operator paid to build, providers say they don't have to pass on the original construction costs for the structures and can afford to be cost competitive. <p>Consider the cons<p>Before deciding to go underground, IT executives need to identify potential limitations, experts say. Even things as simple as ceiling height can be a challenge. Continental's data center space in the Westland bunker has 10-foot ceilings, and putting full-height racks on top of an 18-inch raised floor was a tight fit. "We had to come up with a design to allow us to use full-height racks while providing sufficient airflow," Stelly says. <p>Another concern: While computer systems may be protected in a bunker, critical infrastructure needed during a disaster, such as generators, fuel tanks and air conditioning cooling towers, may be above ground. That could be a problem if the catastrophe you need to worry about is a tornado, warns Westec's Bolen. <p>Bolen recounts how one company claimed that its hardened facility could withstand a direct hit from an F3 (158 to 206 mph) tornado. But the air conditioning and generators were outside. "When an F3 hits, those generator and HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) In the home or small office with a handful of computers, HVAC is more for human comfort than the machines. In large datacenters, a humidity-free room with a steady, cool temperature is essential for the trouble-free units are going to come off their pads," he says. <p>Westec ended up taking space at InfoBunker, about 45 miles away from its offices, Bolen says. The 65,000 square foot Cold War command bunker, designed to withstand a 20-megaton nuclear blast, maintains all infrastructure, including generators, fuel and cooling equipment, 50 feet underground. <p>Copyright 2009 IDG IDG International Data Group
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