Iron Mountain, the nearly 70-year-old “information management” company that grew out of a big early 20thcentury underground mushroom growing operation, has joined a White House program created to push companies and government agencies to improve their data center energy efficiency.

President Barack Obama’s administration rolled out the Better Buildings Initiative in parallel with its clean energy investment program in 2011. The Better Buildings Challenge, one part of the initiative, called on companies and agencies to make specific energy efficiency improvement commitments for their facilities in return for access to some technical assistance from the government, shared best practices, and, of course, good publicity.

So far, Boston-based Iron Mountain is one of 11 private-sector data center operators to have accepted the challenge, pledging to reduce energy intensity of eight of its data centers by 20 percent in 10 years. The others are eBay, Facebook, Intel, Intuit, Home Depot, Staples, and Schneider Electric, as well as data center providers Digital Realty Trust, CoreSite Realty, and Sabey Data Centers.

Energy intensity is a metric that’s different from PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness, the most popular data center efficiency metric. PUE is designed to measure how efficiently supporting data center infrastructure as a whole delivers energy to IT equipment. Energy intensity allows the operator to measure efficiency of each component subsystem, such as power equipment, cooling equipment, IT equipment, or, if necessary, the entire data center. It focuses on how much useful work a system achieves using energy it receives.

At the Data Center World Global conference in Las Vegas next month, Iron Mountain VP of data centers Chris Bair, Intel data center architect John Musilli, and Department of Energy staff scientist and engineer Dale Sartor will talk about the role of the government in data center energy efficiency and explain the ins and outs of the Better Buildings Challenge.

The 20 percent reduction in energy intensity across the eight Iron Mountain data centers amounts to 8.75MW total. In other words, the company has pledged to use 8.75MW less power to do the same amount of work it does now.

Iron Mountain hasn’t provided much detail about how exactly it is planning to achieve the improvements. In an email, a spokesperson said the company would use “geothermal cooling and infrastructure innovations, including air and water-side economization,” as well as better airflow containment.

The data centers in question are in Boston; Kansas City, Missouri; and just outside of Pittsburgh. The latter is Iron Mountain’s famous data center inside a limestone cave in Boyers, Pennsylvania.

Caves play a big role in the company’s history. Iron Mountain founder Herman Knaust was a mushroom grower and seller in early 20th century and bought a cave in New York State in the 1930s to expand his growing facilities, giving it the name Iron Mountain. The mushroom business eventually dried up, and during the Cold War Knaust pivoted to use company facilities as secure underground storage for corporate documents to protect them from destruction by the Bomb.

Today, Iron Mountain’s core business is still providing secure storage facilities for both companies and government agencies, except a lot of the information it stores now comes in digital form.


The Mobile Commissioning Assistant will obsolete the legacy use of costly load banks and rack-mounted fan systems.
Sabey Data Centers and McKinstry have jointly announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for Sabey’s new and innovative Mobile Commissioning Assistant.
The new cart-mounted, portable apparatus is designed to replace a costly legacy testing methodology that employs heat-generating load banks and separate fan units to simulate the heat density of a full server load and test the capacity of air-handling systems within a data center.

The device allows data center developers to test both power and airflow in data centers that use hot aisle containment. It provides a real-life commissioning environment in a manner that simple load banks cannot attain.
Invented by John Sasser, Sabey Data Centers’ vice president of operations and built by McKinstry, the Mobile Commissioning Assistant will be produced and marketed under a business agreement with McKinstry. Both companies are based in Seattle. Interested parties may purchase the devices from Sabey’s partner, McKinstry.

John Sabey, president, Sabey Data Centers, said, “Cooling systems in data centers protect against equipment failure and significant revenue loss. Testing the capacity of these systems is a critical final step before the servers go live. But most data center operators rely on unwieldy load bank heaters that don’t simulate actual operating conditions. Our Mobile Commissioning Assistant uses a heating unit, a fan and an adjustable duct output to simulate both the thermal load and the airflow of a fully-operational data center with a hot-aisle containment system.”

“Data center capacity is typically described in terms of kilowatts, or kW. In other words, how many kilowatts of computing load the power systems can support. Electrically this makes sense in a system that has to support a certain number of kW. Mechanically, however, it’s not just the kW that is relevant, but also the airflow, measured in cubic feet/minute (CFM). Traditional load banks don’t adequately test airflow. You may leave a commissioning event thinking the systems work as designed, only to find later that there are airflow deficiencies,” Sasser said.

Each Mobile Commissioning Assistant produces 100kW of heat and pulls about 16,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow, putting enough airflow into the room to simulate a 20° temperature differential between inlet (cooled air) temperature to the servers and exhaust air heated by the servers.

“For example, if there is a designed 300,000 CFM in the server room, in addition to supplying the heat, we will pull 300,000 CFM with about 18 Mobile Commissioning Assistant carts and then see if the air handlers can keep up, and the back-up uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units and generators can do what they were designed to do. This represents a much more realistic test and is today part of our standard commissioning process,” Sasser said.

“The Mobile Commissioning Assistant will pay for itself after only three commissioning event uses, compared to renting other commercially available equipment,” said Thomas Tellefson, McKinstry business development director.” It will accurately test the capacity of your cooling systems, thereby preventing catastrophic equipment failure. It will also allow the data center operator to avoid the inconvenience of renting testing equipment that really doesn’t test what the operator actually needs. The Mobile Commissioning Assistant is not only very useful in new construction, but in recommissioning facilities as well.”

“Servers don’t just emit heat. They also create airflow patterns throughout the data center. The Mobile Commissioning Assistant tests the cooling system’s capacity to handle this air pressure.” Tellefson added.


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded a patent to two Seattle-area companies for a machine used in the commissioning of data centers.

Sabey Data Centers and McKinstry got the patent for Sabey’s new “mobile commissioning assistant,” the companies said Monday. The assistant is a cart-mounted device that data center operators can use to test the power and airflow in data centers before launching operations.

A center operator has to keep the facility at the right temperature to protect against equipment failure. Testing the power and airflow is a key final step in the commissioning of a data center, which is full of computers that generate enormous amounts of heat while they run.

Cooling the facilities is a big challenge, though some, including McKinstry, have developed some creative solutions. The company is working with Amazon to heat the Seattle retailer’s new skyscrapers with the leftover heat from McKinstry’s nearby data centers.

Microsoft just developed a data center that can be immersed in water to keep it cool.

Still, most data centers must find ways to make sure the facilities are properly equipped before they turn on all the machines.

The standard way of testing the power and airflow through data centers relies on load bank heaters and separate fans. This equipment can be unwieldy and often has to be rented.

The new device allows developers to test both power and airflow. Sabey and McKinstry officials said this provides a more realistic environment in a way that load banks and separate fans cannot.

The new machine will speed up the commissioning process, according to the companies.

John Sasser, Sabey Data Center vice president of operations, invented the commissioning assistant, which design-building company McKinstry is making and marketing.

The cost of the assistant ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 and depends on the quantity ordered, according to a McKinstry spokesperson, who added that to date 20 units have been sold.

McKinstry Business Development Director Thomas Tellefson said the device will pay for itself after three uses.


 

Marc Stiles Staff Writer Puget Sound Business Journal

Invented by Sabey Data Centers engineer John Sasser, the portable device will obsolete the legacy use of costly load banks and rack-mounted fan systems

Providing a real life commissioning environment in a manner that simple load banks cannot attain

Seattle, WA, February 22, 2016 – Sabey Data Centers, one of the nation’s largest privately-owned multi-tenant data center owners and developers, and McKinstry a full-service design, build, operate and maintain firm, jointly announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for Sabey’s new and innovative Mobile Commissioning Assistant.

The new cart-mounted, portable apparatus is designed to replace a costly legacy testing methodology that employs heat-generating load banks and separate fan units to simulate the heat density of a full server load and test the capacity of air handling systems within a data center.

The device allows data center developers to test both power and airflow in data centers that use hot aisle containment. It provides a real-life commissioning environment in a manner that simple load banks cannot attain.

Invented by John Sasser, Sabey Data Centers’ Vice President of Operations and built by McKinstry, the Mobile Commissioning Assistant will be produced and marketed under a business agreement with McKinstry. Both companies are based in Seattle, WA. Interested parties may purchase the devices from Sabey’s partner, McKinstry.

John Sabey, President, Sabey Data Centers, said, “Cooling systems in data centers protect against equipment failure and significant revenue loss. Testing the capacity of these systems is a critical final step before the servers go live. But most data center operators rely on unwieldy load bank heaters that don’t simulate actual operating conditions. Our Mobile Commissioning Assistant uses a heating unit, a fan and an adjustable duct output to simulate both the thermal load and the airflow of a fully-operational data center with a hot-aisle containment system.”

Mr. Sasser said, “Data center capacity is typically described in terms of kilowatts, or kW. In other words, how many kilowatts of computing load the power systems can support. Electrically this makes sense in a system that has to support a certain number of kW. Mechanically, however, it’s not just the kW that is relevant, but also the airflow, measured in cubic feet/minute (CFM). Traditional load banks don’t adequately test airflow. You may leave a commissioning event thinking the systems work as designed, only to find later that there are airflow deficiencies.”

Each Mobile Commissioning Assistant produces 100kW of heat and pulls about 16,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow, putting enough airflow into the room to simulate a 20° temperature differential between inlet (cooled air) temperature to the servers and exhaust air heated by the servers.

Mr. Sasser explained, “For example, if there is a designed 300,000 CFM in the server room, in addition to supplying the heat, we will pull 300,000 CFM with about 18 Mobile Commissioning Assistant carts and then see if the air handlers can keep up, and the back-up uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units and generators can do what they were designed to do. This represents a much more realistic test and is today part of our standard commissioning process.”

“The Mobile Commissioning Assistant will pay for itself after only three commissioning event uses, compared to renting other commercially available equipment,” said Thomas Tellefson, McKinstry business development director.” It will accurately test the capacity of your cooling systems, thereby preventing catastrophic equipment failure. It will also allow the data center operator to avoid the inconvenience of renting testing equipment that really doesn’t test what the operator actually needs. The Mobile Commissioning Assistant is not only very useful in new construction, but in recommissioning facilities as well.”

Mr. Tellefson added, “Servers don’t just emit heat. They also create airflow patterns throughout the data center. The Mobile Commissioning Assistant tests the cooling system’s capacity to handle this air pressure.”


About Sabey Data Center Properties
With a portfolio of more than three million square feet of mission critical space, Sabey Data Center Properties is one of the oldest and largest privately owned multi-tenant data center owner/developer/operators in the United States. Sabey specializes in scalable, custom-built solutions including data center ready shell space and fully turnkey data centers managed by Sabey’s award-winning critical environment staff. Consistently recognized for its reputation for operational excellence through its world-class data centers and sustained uptime, Sabey is proud to provide data center services to many of the world’s top financial, technology and healthcare companies. www.sabeydatacenters.com.

About McKinstry
McKinstry is a full-service, design-build-operate-and-maintain (DBOM) firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services. The firm’s innovative, integrated delivery methodology provides clients with a single point of accountability that drives waste and redundancy out of the design/build process. With nearly 2,000 professional staff and trades people throughout the United States and operations in more than 15 states, McKinstry advocates collaborative, sustainable solutions designed to ensure occupant comfort, improve systems efficiency, reduce facility operational costs, and optimize profitability “For The Life of Your Building.” For more information, visit www.mckinstry.com.

 

 

 

 

Winter Storm Jonas pelts Lower Manhattan with blizzard conditions on January 23, 2016. Photo from the Intergate.Manhattan high-rise data center shows approach and exit ramps to the Brooklyn Bridge, with City Hall at upper center. A city-wide motor vehicle travel ban was imposed just hours later. Credit: Sabey Data Centers

Winter Storm Jonas pelts Lower Manhattan with blizzard conditions on January 23, 2016. Photo from the Intergate.Manhattan high-rise data center shows approach and exit ramps to the Brooklyn Bridge, with City Hall at upper center. A city-wide motor vehicle travel ban was imposed just hours later.
Credit: Sabey Data Centers

Over a 36-hour period on the weekend of January 23-24 winter storm Jonas dumped 27 inches of snow on New York City and the surrounding area. Residents experienced historic blizzard conditions with winds gusting to 60 miles per hour, as airlines cancelled more than 13,000 flights and millions of residents along the Eastern Seaboard were stuck at home because of impassable roads and highways.

For many New Yorkers, the Blizzard of 2016 conjured images of Super Storm Sandy three years earlier, with its full lunar high tides and coastal flooding driven by gale-force winds.

Once again, Sabey Data Centers’ Intergate.Manhattan facility stood tall and unscathed as Mother Nature tried her best to shut the city down. Did Intergate.Manhattan and its mission critical data center customers miraculously dodge Jonas’s winter blasts? The real story is that the building at 375 Pearl Street was planned from the start and sited to withstand a Hundred Year Storm – that’s one of the reasons why Sabey Data Centers owns the building where leading companies who want to be in Manhattan keep their critical infrastructure.

By design, Intergate.Manhattan can prevail through a 50’ storm surge – or even higher — which would put most of Manhattan Island’s streets under water. There was no water intrusion from Jonas, or through the façade from any wind driven snow. The data center’s new emergency generator plant wasn’t needed, but if it had been called up, 375 Pearl Street holds enough backup diesel fuel to support several days of full operations.

‘Having it and not needing it is far better than needing it and not having it’ said John Sabey, President of Sabey Data Center Properties.

Sabey’s in-house design team planned early in the design process for Intergate.Manhattan to mitigate the effects of similar events and optimize and enhance the property’s original robust design. Sabey commented, “Staying up during Sandy, and most recently, Jonas without interruption should give our present and future data center clients the unsurpassed and unique level of comfort of choosing Manhattan not only for their business, but their critical business infrastructure.”

To schedule a walkthrough of this resilient property please email info@sabey.com