Wednesday, July 29, 2009



StrataSpace is a new underground facility developed entirely for data center operations. StrataSpace provides a safe and secure place where mission critical data can be economically stored and managed. The many positive aspects of locating your data center in StrataSpace cannot be matched anywhere in the United States.

Each stand-alone building within the underground is built to the client’s unique design requirements and specifications, supporting a full range of operations with redundant power, fiber, ventilation and HVAC systems. Your organization has the opportunity to design its own facility rather than moving into pre-existing space.

StrataSpace has all the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of most data center operations. The underground facility has room for 230,000 SF of net leasable building space.

Area StrataSpace has approximately 230,000 leasable square feet, 65 feet below the earth’s surface.
  • Protection from all types of natural threats, including flooding, tornados, strong windstorms, lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
  • Backup generators and fuel tanks are located underground.
  • The underground facility is located 260 feet above the Ohio River, the nearest major water source.
  • The underground facility has two diverse, secure entrance/exit openings (in addition to three exits that are emergency exits only).
  • Data center total ceiling height (concrete slab to concrete ceiling) can be up to 17 feet. Raised floor heights can be constructed to any height the tenant desires.
Safety and Security

StrataSpace offers protection from outside elements and intruders, as well as natural disasters and fire. The underground’s solid rock natural ceiling has a thickness of 40’-65’ and is located underneath an undeveloped field. Massive rock pillars left in place during the mining process support the ceiling.

StrataSpace provides extremely tight security for the entire underground facility. Each individual data center building has its own internal security system/plan.

Safety and security measures include:

  • Non-descript location
  • Gated and fenced property with authorized access only
  • 24/7 security/intrusion monitoring with DVR and a large number of cameras
  • 24/7 fire protection monitoring
  • 24/7 on-sight security guard
  • Underground parking available as well as a large outdoor parking area that is well lit and continuously monitored
  • Fire suppression system throughout the entire underground and in every building.

StrataSpace has the unique advantage of being naturally cooled. The starting temperature of the underground is 59 degrees, every day of the year. Warm air produced by data center operations is discharged above each building into a gap left above each building. The gap is six (6) feet in height and acts as an air plenum for the warm air. The air plenum is continuously swept to the outside by the development’s underground ventilation system. Coupled with the fact that electric rates at StrataSpace are only 3.97¢ per kilowatt-hour, tenants can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by locating their operation in StrataSpace.

Compared to the benefits received, lease rates at StrataSpace are extremely attractive. Two cost factors allow StrataSpace to offer lower lease rates than you might expect. First, the land value at StrataSpace is very low compared to metropolitan areas. Second, building costs are lower because there is no site needed and because of the type of building that can be built underground. Typical outside finishes are not necessary. All buildings are single-story structures which eliminates the additional cost involved with multi-story structures, and the massive rock columns can be used for some of the building’s walls.

Considering the benefits and all the factors that go into total cost of ownership, StrataSpace is an excellent option to consider.

Environment Each tenant’s temperature and humidity is controlled independently using whatever equipment they have specified for their building. Each tenant obtains fresh, cool air from the area immediately outside their building, which is part of the common air for the entire underground.

The overall air ventilation in the underground is controlled by a complex system. The system has twelve (12) five-foot diameter fans and related ductwork. Each fan is 42 horsepower and controlled by softstarts and variable frequency drives. There are twenty (20) sensors throughout the underground that monitor heat, humidity and carbon monoxide. The readings on the sensors will dictate what the overall system will do at any given time. The entire system will be monitored 24/7 in the facility’s Network Operations Center. The system uses a push-pull process and can exchange the air in the entire 500,000 SF facility six (6) times per hour at a rate of 650,000 cfm if need be.

StrataSpace has an extensive grounding system, using five-hundred (500) grounding rods. The rods are 5/8” x 8’0” copper clad rods. The rods are inserted into 3” diameter holes with earth enhancement material (Erico Part # GEM 25A) packed around the rod. The GEM material is 20 times lower in resistance than bentonite clay. The rods are connected with 4/0 copper stranded wire that is exothermally welded to the tops of all 500 rods, forming a grounding grid throughout the entire facility. The system creates a low impedance grounding grid to protect data equipment. The grounding grid is in full agreement with IEEE Std. 1100 – 1990 and will provide 2 ohms of resistance or less.

Utilities StrataSpace was designed with business continuity as its highest priority, second only to safety. The primary source for electricity is E.ON U.S. (formally LG&E Energy). Currently there is 4 megawatts of power capacity going into the underground facility. The capacity will increase over time as tenants locate to StrataSpace. The planned capacity is 12 megawatts, but that can be increased based on tenant needs. Regardless of the primary capacity, all electricity requirements will be backed up with diesel generators using an N+1 approach, UPS’s and automatic transfer switches. The generators and fuel tanks are located underground in separate buildings, taking away the threat of tornado, lightning or vandalism. The volume of fuel stored will have a three-day minimum run time at full load.

There can be any number of fiber providers depending on tenant needs. Currently there are two providers located in the underground facility. The first is BellSouth. BellSouth has installed an OC-12 Sonet Ring. The second fiber provider is Insight Communications. They have installed an OC-3 single path route. The fiber enters the underground using diverse routes through conduit that is buried three (3) feet in the ground and encased in concrete. Once underground, the fiber enters a secure 2,000 SF telecom building. The building has very limited access and no one is allowed in the building without being physically escorted and watched by a designated employee of the development’s network manager, Within the telecom building, fiber is broken into any increment a tenant may need. The fiber is delivered to the tenant’s building using sealed overhead cable trays (22 feet above the floor).

The data infrastructure can support a variety of topologies, including:

  • Sonet Ring
  • Metro Ethernet
  • DS3
  • Cable
  • PRI
Security The Building is equipped with a telephone entry system with card access. Both fire and security systems are monitored off site. The Building is protected with a Radionics security system.
Location Located just outside of Louisville, Ky., StrataSpace is within 600 miles of 67% of the population of the United States and a half-hour from the main air distribution hub of UPS. You can't ask for a better locale.

Our location benefits:

  • 1 day drive to two-thirds of the US population
  • 1 mile from I-71 and 25 minutes from UPS’s primary air distribution hub
  • 20 minutes from I-71, I-64, I-65 interchange
  • 5.5 hours from Chicago
  • 1 hour from Cincinnati
  • 2.75 hours from Nashville


Larry Harms, President

Phone: 502.326.2800

StrataSpace completes site preparation on underground data center

StrataSpace has completed site preparation construction at its 500,000-square-foot underground data center development just outside Louisville, Kentucky.

StrataSpace is now working to finalize the mechanical systems design and tenant spaces within the innovative facility. StrataSpace has retained the services of CCG Facilities Integration Inc., based in Baltimore, and the Bick Group of St. Louis to provide architecture and engineering services.

StrataSpace will house approximately 250,000 square feet of raised-floor datacenter space plus 250,000 square feet of support area for mechanical systems - 65 feet underground. In addition to maximum security and reliability, StrataSpace tenants will realize significantly reduced operating costs due to low utility rates in Kentucky.

The multi-million dollar site preparation project included:

Automated ventilation system capable of exchanging air in the facility six times per hour;
Underground generator room designed to support 24MW of back-up generator power;
Underground fuel area designed to support 125,000 gallons of diesel fuel;
Redundant fiber rings from multiple telecommunication carriers;
Telecommunication demarcation facility capable of supporting up to nine separate telecommunication carriers from redundant paths;
A comprehensive drainage plan with redundant 12-inch, 9,000 gallon-per-minute pumps that protect the facility and grounds from flooding, designed to handle a 100-year rain event;
Secondary entrance for construction and support vehicles and secure parking lot;
Office building that includes a Network Operations Center and Security Command and Control Center;

Conduit to support eight substations for redundant power distribution;
Pipe for drainage and sanitary plumbing, now in place;
Common area fire detection and suppression system, and
Perimeter fencing to secure the 35-acre property.

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Underground Secure Data Center Operations

Technology based companies are building new data centers in old mines, caves, and bunkers to host computer equipment below the Earth's surface.

Underground Secure Data Center Operations have a upward trend.

Operations launched in inactive gypsum mines, caves, old abandoned coal mines, abandoned solid limestone mines, positioned deep below the bedrock mines, abandoned hydrogen bomb nuclear bunkers, bunkers deep underground and secure from disasters, both natural and man-made.

The facility have advantages over traditional data centers, such as increased security, lower cost, scalability and ideal environmental conditions. There economic model works, despite the proliferation of data center providers, thanks largely to the natural qualities inherent in the Underground Data Centers.

With 10,000, to to over a 1,000,000 square feet available, there is lots of space to be subdivided to accommodate the growth needs of clients. In addition, the Underground Data Centers has an unlimited supply of naturally cool, 50-degree air, providing the ideal temperature and humidity for computer equipment with minimal HVAC cost.

They are the most secure data centers in the world and unparalleled in terms of square footage, scalability and environmental control.

Yet, while the physical and cost benefits of being underground make them attractive, they have to also invested heavily in high-speed connectivity and redundant power and fiber systems to ensure there operations are not just secure, but also state-of-the-art.

There initially focused on providing disaster recovery solutions, and backup co-location services.

Clients lease space for their own servers, while other provides secure facilities, power and bandwidth. They offers redundant power sources and multiple high-speed Internet connections through OC connected to SONET ring linked to outside connectivity providers through redundant fiber cables.

Underground Data Centers company augments there core services to include disaster recovery solutions, call centers, NOC, wireless connectivity and more.

Strategic partnering with international, and national information technology company, enable them to offer technology solutions ranging from system design and implementation to the sale of software and equipment.

The natural qualities of the Underground Data Centers allow them to offer the best of both worlds premier services and security at highly competitive rates.

Underground Data Centers were established starting in 1990's but really came into there own after September 11 attacks in 2001 when there founders realized the former mines, and bunker offered optimal conditions for a data center. The mines, and bunkers offered superior environmental conditions for electronic equipment, almost invulnerable security and they located near power grids.

Adam Couture, a Mass.-based analyst for Gartner Inc. said Underground Data Centers could find a niche serving businesses that want to reduce vulnerability to any future attacks. Some Underground Data Centers fact sheet said that the Underground Data Center would protect the data center from a cruise missile explosion or plane crash.

Every company after September 11 attacks in 2001 are all going back and re-evaluating their business-continuity plans, This doesn't say everybody's changing them, but everybody's going back and revisiting them in the wake of what happened and the Underground Data Center may be just that.

Comparison chart: Underground data centers

Five facilities compared
Name InfoBunker, LLC The Bunker Montgomery Westland Cavern Technologies Iron Mountain The Underground
Location Des Moines, Iowa* Dover, UK Montgomery, Tex. Lenexa, Kan. Butler County, Penn.*
In business since 2006 1999 2007 2007 Opened by National Storage in 1954. Acquired by Iron Mountain 1998.
Security /access control Biometric; keypad; pan, tilt and zoom cameras; door event and camera logging CCTV, dogs, guards, fence Gated, with access control card, biometrics and a 24x7 security guard Security guard, biometric scan, smart card access and motion detection alarms 24-hour armed guards, visitor escorts, magnetometer, x-ray scanner, closed-circuit television, badge access and other physical and electronic measures for securing the mine's perimeter and vaults
Distance underground (feet) 50 100 60 125 220
Ceiling height in data center space (feet) 16 12 to 50 10 16 to 18 15 (10 feet from raised floor to dropped ceiling)
Original use Military communications bunker Royal Air Force military bunker Private bunker designed to survive a nuclear attack. Complex built in 1982 by Louis Kung (Nephew of Madam Chang Kai Shek) as a residence and headquarters for his oil company, including a secret, 40,000 square foot nuclear fallout shelter. The office building uses bulletproof glass on the first floor and reception area and 3-inch concrete walls with fold-down steel gun ports to protect the bunker 60 feet below. Limestone mine originally developed by an asphalt company that used the materials in road pavement Limestone mine
Total data center space (square feet) 34,000 50,000 28,000 plus 90,000 of office space in a hardened, above-ground building. 40,000 60,000
Total space in facility 65,000 60,000 28,000 3 million 145 acres developed; 1,000 acres total
Data center clients include Insurance company, telephone company, teaching hospital, financial services, e-commerce, security
monitoring/surveillance, veterinary, county government
Banking, mission critical Web applications, online trading NASA/T-Systems, Aker Solutions, Continental Airlines, Houston Chronicle, Express Jet Healthcare, insurance, universities, technology, manufacturing, professional services Marriott International Inc., Iron Mountain, three U.S. government agencies
Number of hosted primary or backup data centers 2 50+ 13 26 5
Services offered Leased data center space, disaster recovery space, wholesale bandwidth Fully managed platforms, partly managed platforms, co-location Disaster recovery/business continuity, co-location and managed services Data center space leasing, design, construction and management Data center leasing, design, construction and maintenance services
Distance from nearest large city Des Moines, about 45 miles* Canterbury, 10 miles; London, 60 miles Houston, 40 miles Kansas City, 15 miles Pittsburgh, 55 miles
Location of cooling system, includng cooling towers Underground Underground Above and below ground. All cooling towers above ground in secure facility. Air cooled systems located underground. Cooling towers located outside
Chillers located above ground to take advantage of "free cooling." Pumps located underground.
Location of generators and fuel tanks Underground Above ground and below ground Two below ground, four above ground. All fuel tanks buried topside. Underground Underground
*Declined to cite exact location/disatance for security reasons.