Monday, August 3, 2009

Prairie Bunkers

Prairie Bunkers Seen for Nebraska Ammo Sites

Rich Miller

Prairie Bunkers LLC hopes to convert World War II ammo bunkers in Nebraska (pictured above, with artist visualization) into a series of 5,000 square foot data centers.

A Nebraska company is planning to convert World War II ammunition bunkers into data centers, hoping to capitalize on interest in ultra-secure data storage and the Midwest’s recent gains as a destination for mission-critical sites.

Prairie Bunkers LLC will unveil its project tomorrow in Hastings, Nebraska, with Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman scheduled to be on hand. The project features 184 World War II naval ammunition storage bunkers, which Prairie Bunkers is offering to customers for conversion into ultra-secure high-density data centers.

The bunkers were part of the Naval Ammunition Depot built to manufacture and store munitions during World War II. Each 5,000 square foot bunker has concrete walls and is bermed with earth on three sides.

Prairie Bunkers is a partnership between San Francisco firm Hultquist Capital and Great Plains Data Center Builders, an Omaha-based engineering firm that has built more than 70 data centers.

Prairie Bunkers CEO Pam Brown, a former Nebraska state senator, cited Yahoo’s recent decision to build a major data center in Omaha as a positive indicator. “Interest from corporate and colocation data center sponsors in Nebraska sites for new data centers is strong and our welcome mat is out,” said Brown.

Dave Pettengill, who is a principal in both Prairie Bunkers and Great Plains Data Center Builders, said the low power cost, geothermal cooling capabilities and the availability of wind, hydro, and nuclear energy are factors that will attract corporate interest.

Company chairman Gary Hultquist says Prairie Bunkers is seeking an investor to develop one of the 5,000 square foot bunkers as a colocation business and proof of concept, with subsequent bunkers developed on a build-to-suit basis. Hultquist said the project has interest from Fortune 1000 companies, U.S. government agencies and colocation providers.

The 760 acre Hastings site has a power substation on the property. The local power provider is South Central Public Power District (SCPPD). SCPPD is a wholesale customer of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), which has a diverse generation mix that includes nuclear, wind and hydro.Welcome to Prairie Bunkers high security data center park military–grade reinforced concrete bunkers on 760 acres with connection to multiple long-haul fiber providers and highly available electricity under $.04kWh custom designs from 5000 sf/100-rack facility, up to 50,000 sf/850-rack facility of Tier III+ space with powered at 6.8 to 20 kw per rack. modular expansion available to adjacent bunkers with over 1,500,000 sf of data center space
highly density design and geothermal cooling = low projected PUE of 1.2

high sustainability and energy efficiency: reuse of existing structures, geothermal cooling, potential for solar/wind energy, potential for reuse of excess heat

secure remote location within commuting distance to several communities, universities and colleges, airports and Interstate-80 more
located on geographical corridor recognized for advanced data center placement more
located out of hurricane zone, out of flood zone, out of earthquake zone, out of forest fire zone, in tornado-proof reinforced concrete bunkers

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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.