Datacenter for the paranoid

The NSA breaks ground on their next-generation datacenter.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

It looks like it's time to start prepping the tinfoil hats and preparing for the black helicopters. Not to mention adding 512-bit encryption to all your tweets and Facebook posts. The NSA will soon be ready to come after everyone electronically with the groundbreaking of their new 1,000,000 square foot datacenter in Utah.

The disinformation has already started with various news articles reporting the cost of the project as either $1.2 or $1.5 billion dollars, and civilian contractors (the project is being overseen by the US Army Corp of Engineers) being quoted as saying "we can't talk about it."  Fortunately US Senator Orrin Hatch, who represents the state of Utah, where the project is being constructed on a 240 acre site within the Camp Williams training facility, isn't quite so reticent saying "This country defends itself against cyber-attacks every day. It's an arena where we need to defend ourselves" going on with "This center will support the effort to better understand that threat."

As to why the facility is being built in Utah, there was apparently a detailed selection process using over 130 criteria that determined this was the best location, though US Army Corp of Engineers Brigadier General Peter Deluca was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune as saying there are "at least 50 perfect states to build a data center."

I'm really hoping that was a tongue-in-check comment. Sort of like my lead paragraph.

The datacenter itself will utilize 100,000 sq. ft. within the facility, with the rest of the space housing other NSA and civilian employees presumably focused on cyber warfare issues, though some sources have stated that this is strictly a technical facility with no plans for analysts on-site.  Harvey Davis, associate director of installations for the NSA, described the hardware going into the datacenter component of the facility as being the essence of the NSA's work. The datacenter is considered part of the Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative.

The facility is scheduled to go online in October 2013, a timeline that includes not only building the datacenter itself but also the power, and presumably networking, infrastructures needed to support the undertaking.

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