Following the acquisition of its first U.K. facility, ServerFarm turned to the expertise of i3 Solutions Group to modernize and optimize the facility.
A facility upgrade was to be executed through the identification and delivery of additional power capacity. And, at the same time, i3 was to help create a flexible, multitenant data center ready for low- to high-density workloads ranging from 1 to 4 kW per rack to 20 kW per rack, with a design PUE of below 1.2.
Upgrade and Expansion
The 120,000-square-foot, 6-MW Lon1 data center located in Feltham, London, was acquired in March 2018, and, within five and a half months, i3 had completed the modernization.
i3 Solutions Group optimized the entire facility, creating a Tier III environment in terms of uptime and efficiency through cost-effective modernization of electrical gear. New switches and UPS equipment were deployed to create N+1 electrical infrastructure with A+B feeds combined with new, efficient chillers and CRAC units to create an N+1 mechanical environment. This was completed while keeping the site live for existing commercial colo and telco enterprise customers.
The firm’s experts looked at an overall master plan for the site, and i3 design engineers enabled increased capacity of the facility from 6 to 10.8 MW.
The Lon1 data center is a multistory building with the middle floor occupied by a global telecommunications company. Working with live facilities brought new challenges to the already complex, critical facilities infrastructure engineering project.
i3 assessment indicated that this occupied data center floor was operating below its original design capacity of 3 MW due to aging and missing equipment. A thorough refresh of the main plant and adding new UPSs and chillers enabled i3 to achieve an increase in capacity to 3.6 MW on the middle floor without affecting the live customer load.
"ServerFarm's Lon1 data center is one of the most efficient, sustainable, and highly connected multitenant mission critical colocation sites within the M25,” said Jim Shanahan, COO, ServerFarm. “Living up to its reputation built over many years, i3 Solutions Group brought valuable experience and engineering expertise to ServerFarm's Lon1 data center. Throughout the design and delivery phase of the transformation project, i3 displayed high levels of professionalism and knowledge and played a major part of the successful capacity expansion and upgrade of the mechanical and electrical infrastructure of the facility. With total site power capacity now over 10 MW, and within sight of London's Heathrow airport, ServerFarm Lon1 is a prime location for enterprise and service provider customers from across every type of market."
Efficient Cooling is Essential
i3 identified how to transform the cooling efficiency of the technology halls by moving from a single, fixed-volume, chilled water circuit to primary and secondary variable circuits in a live environment. The chiller technology was changed from power-hungry, inefficient 15-year old chillers to variable-speed TurboCor chillers with free cooling. This resulted in both lower energy use and greater environment control.
To further increase the cooling capacity without additional new equipment, i3 addressed system air management. This enabled a rise in chilled water temperatures, which had three positive outcomes: more capacity per footprint of chiller, higher efficiency, and a larger free cooling window.
This reduced overall energy consumption and increased operational efficiency without downtime and compromise to the live customer load.
“The opportunity to expand the available capacity while greatly improving the efficiency of the facility made working on the ServerFarm Lon1 data center a rewarding project for i3 Solutions Group,” said Luke Neville, director i3 Solutions Group. “ServerFarm’s objective was to turn an existing enterprise data center live environment into a multitenant commercial colocation facility for multiple stakeholders. Having a detailed understanding of the original design intent, on-site installation, and operational parameters of the systems was crucial to minimizing the risks of working with operational systems. With a tight program, incorporating the challenge of a system refresh and energy efficiency upgrades to the legacy power and cooling systems, planning for every contingency was essential. At the same time, live systems always have the ability to deliver the unforeseen, requiring flexible, responsive, accurate problem-solving and fast decision-making.”
The facility now meets modern customer demands for greater densities on smaller footprints, saving space, power, and operational cost.
i3 focused its expert ability to identify and efficiently deliver additional data center capacity to the ServerFarm Lon1 modernization project. This additional capacity was brought to market within months, enhancing the value of the facility as a commercial colocation offering. As well as driving significant OpEx savings, the project enhanced data center offering in terms of flexibility of and scalability.
The project was recognized for its innovation and execution, winning multiple awards, including the 2019 SDC Digital Transformation Project of the Year Award and the 2019 DCD Data Center Modernization Project of the Year.