Multiple levels of security, redundant systems, scalability, sustainable design features (from the logical to the unusual) plus a savings of $7.1 million – could it be done? It was paramount that St. Charles’ continued to comply
with HIPAA, among the most stringent privacy and secu- rity regulations required by any industry. From the outset, BendBroadband committed to meeting or exceeding HIPAA’s requirements as well as those of the financial and other security-sensitive industries. That entailed building the Vault with a network operations center monitoring all aspects of system-wide performance with on-site staff 24/7, 52 HD video surveillance cameras and state-of-the-art security sys- tems that allow flexible data logging and reporting. Healthcare providers need granular control of who can ac- cess which cabinets for auditing compliances. Physical barriers to entry and biometric access controls allow only authorized personnel into selected areas of the building. According to Wade Holmes, BendBroadband VP of technology, the Vault is one of the only data centers in the nation that also has rack-level security, which means individuals must be scanned in to open a single rack. This allows BendBroadband to track an individual from the moment the person walks in the front door to the moment the rack door is opened. Obviously, a healthcare system has no room for error when it comes to reliability. St. Charles conveyed this to HP, which BendBroadband tapped to design a concurrently maintainable MEP system – the best mechanical, engineering and power available. HP understood that a regional trauma center with people’s lives on the line – and the corresponding sensitive data – needed Tier III reliability. Tier III certification requires the data center infrastruc- ture to be concur- rently maintainable, meaning that every component and ele- ment in the distribu- tion paths for power, cooling and network can be removed from service on a planned basis without impact- ing any of the com- puter equipment. The benefit of Tier III certified facili- ties is the assurance that data will be kept safe and secure, with operations running without interruption. Tier III certification was a key objective for all parties. Additionally, the
The Vault’s mantrap is the entry door into the data center from the secure lobby. Two-factor authentication is required for entry, and the door validates only a single occupant at a time.
The unmarked facility is situated in a natural setting, east of the Cascades in a cool and earthquake-averse region.
Vault was built with scalability in mind. Usually data centers do not have the ability to operate 4 kW per cabinet, but the Vault’s cabinets are designed to handle up to 21 kW to ac- commodate four dense blade chassis in a single rack, or stack Cisco UCS systems floor to chimney. So rather than adding racks, St. Charles could scale within the rack. The cabinets were also designed to accompany a modular power distribu- tion system capable of single- and three-phase power. Green technology was not only important to St. Charles because it values sustainability, but was a key to cost reduc- tion. Most data centers operate at a power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 2.0 or higher. BendBroadband installed two 450-kW-capacity KyotoCooling systems, which utilize the chill night air of the high desert to cool the data center, and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) flywheel system to help reduce the Vault’s PUE to less than 1.2. In conventional data centers, cool air is pumped into the room from under a raised floor and drawn into the cabinets to cool off the equipment. In comparison, the Vault’s hot air containment design allows cooling only where necessary, saving energy and also supporting high-density virtualization – running several virtual servers in one physical server chas- sis, and several of these blade chassis in one custom-made Chatsworth cabinet. A chimney above each cabinet removes heat produced by the servers.
But when St. Charles’ new Nexus core switches from Cisco arrived at the Vault, they ran into a problem. The equipment didn’t fit into the cabinets.
The design team re-approached the floor layout: one way or another the equipment had to fit and still be cooled by drawing cold air in the front of the cabinets and exhausting the warmed air through chimneys. The team came up with the idea of arranging the equipment in pods that can handle the non-uniform equipment needs. Inside the pods, St. Charles can place a variety of non-uniform equipment, and each pod is still encapsulated by a chimney. The pods also allow for scalability, so they can continue to be a good long-term solu- tion as St. Charles’ data continues to build-out. Additionally, the sliding doors on the pods provide another layer of security, and the design team created an audit trail for each pod.
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