University of Cambridge
West Cambridge Data Centre
The Data Centre comprises 4 Data Halls with associated areas for supporting services, a technical area and a small administration area. There are three discrete stakeholders currently planning on utilising the space: Cambridge Assessment (inc Cambridge University Press), University Information Service and High Performance Computing Service. The centralised facilities are a key component in the University data strategy. The relocation of the High Performance Computing to the West Cambridge site will free up existing facilities within the Arup building to allow Cambridge Conservation Initiative to take up residence. The co-location of the University key IT stakeholders will provide the University with the foundation for the IT infrastructure required to underpin the research plan.
The Works require the installation of a new electrical sub-station to provide 4.5MVA.
To support the high density cabinets for High Performance Computing, back of rack cooling solution was developed with the client. This system would facilitate the upgrade to direct chip cooling if required in the future. In order to meet the University’s aspirations it was concluded that the solution had to go beyond all air evaporative cooling. The result was a ‘cooled’ water system that exploited the same benefits of evaporative cooling without the use of chillers, supporting both the low (hot-aisle contained / CRAH cooled) and high (rear-door cooled) IT densities.
We were appointed to act as Client Representative covering the period from commencement of the frame through to completion & handover. The Works were procured using a 2 stage Develop & Construct route under the NEC Contract form. Our remit covered the leadership of the construction team, ensuring that all risks were identified early; plans were put in place to mitigate and then ensured the team followed through on these actions.
On appointment we undertook an audit of the scheme which identified a shortfall in the planning of the commissioning process. It was clear that the team had not focused on their understanding of the sequences involved. The scheme involves the installation of 220 racks in the Phase 1 spread over 4 data halls with a total load of 1350kW.
Our role also encompassed the installation of the single mode fibre connection. Resilience is provided by 2No 11kV feeds from the UKPN with N+1 standby generator sets capable of delivering 1760kW. Cooling to the racks is provided from back of rack cooling with a CRAH system. UPS capacity of 1620kW providing N+1. Total CO2 omissions were reduced by 40%.
The scheme was delayed by some 4 weeks when we took over and it is likely that this will now be delivered within the original timescales.
The scheme underwent a full HS&W audit through the works and scored at the top end of the University rankings.
The developed cooling solution is unique to a multi-user data centre within the University sector. The single cooling system supports the current IT densities of each of the three key users while providing a platform to meet their future demands of tomorrow.