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Vegas SuperNap an IT Managers tour

During a recent Vegas vacation. I was able to visit switch networks SuperNap. Now while they can’t officially tell you who their clients are, and I pretty much signed my life away just to get in, I won’t tell you either, but let’s just say, they have, any big companies, that needs lots of servers and consume ridiculous amounts of data. Think governments, online schools, online payment systems, casinos, virtual machines, movies and broadcast television. This place is an IT Managers dream data center.

So why is this so impressive?
An effective data center boils down to three main things: power, cooling, and connectivity

Power
Power-wise this place has three separate power phases, each for their colors: blue red and grey. The amount of power consumed is amazing, it has access to more power then three of the large Vegas strip casinos. Sure the official Stats are they have over 100 MVA of power, 146 MVA generator capacity.

Cooling
I have never seen so many servers in my life, and especially at that density. Each rack I saw, was full of 1u servers. No gaps, just one server stacked on the other. They designed and built their own air conditioning units with 4 types of AC.
These things can cool the air over 40 degrees per unit. They have 40 of these units, all located outside of the building. This allows them to pull in cool outside ari and cool the place for free, weather permitting. Since they can use the same AC system as your car, they can run without using any outside air, or outside water. It may not be very efficient, but it can be done in an emergency.

Connectivity
Over 25 Separate carriers offer connectivity there. This would be basically all of the US based Carriers. They were able to get 2 1gb Circuits in less then a month. Since they have so much stuff hosted here, they are able to leverage great rates from all of the carriers if they want a piece of the traffic. Since this is one of the big pipes of the Internet, yes they want to have connectivity there.

Other factors that help make a great Data Center

Security
With armed guards, and a ridiculous amount of cameras, badge in, badge out, blast walls, sign your live and first born away to get in, they take security very seriously. No joking with the guards. If you go, be sure to have all your documentation in order before you get there.

Location
Vegas, 3 or 4 miles from the strip, in what looks like from the outside well a strip mall of small businesses with this giant fenced off area in the back. It doesn’t show up in the right location on maps or GPSs. That is all I am willing to tell you about the location because chances are my stuff is being hosted at their place and I like my stuff to be secure.

Design
“Wow, you thought of everything” is what I told my tour guide & sales person on more than 1 occasion. Unfortunately it was the only works I was able to muster. The reason I call out the design specifically is more than just separating the power, and cooling from the servers by thick concrete walls to reduce issues if there is a fire, you are also able to visually trace every cable that is strung between cages. The meeting rooms are designed with not only great technology, but also they have created their own desks with corrugated metal tops just to further reduce the amount of flammable material that is in the building. Oh yes, and I almost forgot, they don’t have raised floors.

Cost
This place is ironically very reasonable for the type and options of hosting they offer. Since you generally save huge on your connectivity, by hosting something there, you might be able to have it hosted for free*.

* Free is defined as the amount of hosting costs the same or less than the amount of savings on bandwidth you have.

YouTube Video tour:

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Official videos:

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Now it is time to get to work on convincing the right people at my company this is where we need to put our equipment.

Cheers,
Kraig.

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