Penn State announces part two of their new data center plans

Main campus data center will complement medical center facility previously announced.

Penn State announced last week that they had finalized plans and gotten approval for the funding for part two of their new data center plans. The $58 million in funding will be used to build a second data center, this one on Penn State's main campus at University Park, to match the facility that started construction in January at their Hershey Medical Center campus.

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Part of the planning, from the very beginning of this project, was to have the two data centers available so that they could provide backup for each other, along with disaster recovery and business continuity services, given the geographical distance between the two facilities. They are close enough that the cost of high-speed interlink between the two is relatively inexpensive, yet far enough apart that the same geological or weather disaster would be unlikely to affect both.

The University Park Data Center, as it is to be called, will be a two-story structure capable of supporting an IT load of 1.75 megawatts with an additional 1 megawatt of capacity available in the same building. The site itself is planned to grow to support as much as 8 megawatts if needed, with new construction.

The facility will have a design goal to reach a PUE of under 1.2. The plan is to accomplish this in four ways, with three stages, starting first with high-efficiency heat exchangers circulating indoor air, then adding water spraying on the heat exchangers to reduce air temperatures. The third stage of the cooling will require compressors for mechanical cooling and be the least efficient, but its use will be limited as much as possible.

To help make sure that cooling energy is most efficiently applied the data center itself will make extensive use of hot and cold aisle containment to make sure that cooling is applied only where required.

At this time, Penn State has not announced when groundbreaking will occur for this second facility, but all the pieces are in place (funding and location) to begin at any time.