A global leader in cancer and infectious disease research, Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) wanted to consolidate and centralize into an on-site facility data center resources supporting essential computational work. With Affiliated Engineers, FHCRC's consulting engineers for more than 20 years and over 1.1 million square feet, they successfully scaled and customized the climate-leveraging strategies of large-scale commercial server farms in the region, bettering the energy efficiency of even their state-of-the-art benchmark organization.
The 8,000 square foot, 750 kW, Tier II data center is within the adaptive reuse of a former office building that includes life science laboratory and cryogenic sample storage spaces. With enclosed hot aisles improving operating efficiency, custom built-up, multi-fan arrays draw 100 percent outside supply air from a shade zone and below-grade areaway for "free cooling" during roughly 90% of annual hours. Direct evaporative cooling supplements and extends the economizer cycle, and traditional chilled water coils provide backup cooling for extreme weather conditions. The power system features an N+1 modular UPS, on-site diesel generation, and facility-wide metering. Secondary power is provided by a direct feed bypassing the UPS for enhanced reliability. Fire protection is provided by a double interlock preaction sprinkler system using the VESDA detection system. All of these facility systems are combined with a cabling system design utilizing the latest networking standards providing flexibility, efficiency, and both physical and logical redundancies.
Currently operating with a PUE of less than 1.1, the FHCRC facility is one of the most energy-efficient data centers in the country. Designed and constructed in 18 months at the same cost of a mechanically cooled data center, it accommodates more than double the capacity. Increasing research volume, throughout, and the resiliency of the organization's IT infrastructure, the new data center supports recruiting of the world-class research talent upon which the institution thrives. Just as importantly, the financial savings and long-term value of the facility frees up resources that can be channeled back into the FHCRC research mission.