University of Florida East Campus Data Center

Project Summary

The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, built its new East Campus Data Center, a 25,000-square-foot facility, for supercomputing. When it opened in 2013, the $15 million center housed the $3.4 million HiPerGator and the university’s IT operations.

Two years later, the university expanded its supercomputing capabilities with HiPerGator 2.0, which adds an additional 30,000 cores to the 21,000-core HiPerGator. The original could perform up to 150 trillion calculations per second when it came online — the upgrade is seven times faster.

Hanson provided Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) pre-requisite and enhanced commissioning services for the center, addressing the building envelope as well as the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Hanson reviewed the building and systems’ design during development of the project’s construction documents. Hanson also provided Level 4 and Level 5 testing of the building’s controls; mechanical heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; and electrical systems supporting the facility’s data halls. Level 4 testing determined that components and component systems were functional and met design requirements, subsequent to the completion of those systems’ construction. Load banks were used to simulate the design loads — electrical and heat gain (cooling) — expected from the maximum build-out of the data-center racks. Load testing was performed in steps over a period of time, which allowed the systems’ response to issues, such as power disturbances and temperatures, to be monitored. In addition, functional testing employed various fault testing scenarios, verifying system reliability and redundancy under normal and standby power.

Level 5 testing involved system integration tests at design loads, demonstrating correct performance of interacting systems under failure and maintenance conditions.

The university’s IT department worked with Dell Inc., Terascala, Mellanox Technologies and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) to build the cluster. Hanson worked with the architecture/engineering team, KlingStubbins, during the design of the project and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. during the facility’s construction and system testing. The project was designed and constructed in accordance with the LEED new construction (LEED-NC) green building rating system, and achieved Certified status.

The data center, which can be expanded to more than three times its current capacity, is slated to include an additional 5,000 square feet of data center floor space, dual feed generator plant with 72 hours of fuel storage, dual feed UPS systems and inert gas fire suppression system. Hanson provided commissioning services for the expansion to the data center’s infrastructure, enabling an expansion of racks and computing capacity in Data Hall 2. The load in Data Hall 2 is projected to increase from 375 kilowatts to about 925 kilowatts. This increase requires an expansion of the chilled water distribution system requiring a new chiller, pump and computer room air handler units, switchgear, electrical busways, power distribution units and uninterruptible power supplies to serve the expanding data hall.

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