This afternoon I was checking out zoomshare's new digs, helping prepare for an up-and-coming move of our servers from one colocation (colo) facility to another. I have to say that while this is by far not my first trip to a colo they still impresses me to no end.
What exactly is a colo facility? Well it is a data center where multiple customers (companies usually) locate network, server and storage equipment and interconnect to a telecommunication service provider to the virtual world at large. In other words it's the high tech center in the physical world where the virtual world of zoomshare resides and is accessed.
How high tech? Well that can vary from colo facility to colo facility, but to give you an idea of our new space (and why I'm always impressed) here's a quick run down:
- 10.4 Megawatts (MW) provided by two different electrical sources. For reference household incandescent light bulbs rate between 40 and 100 watts, a modern diesel-train engine can top out a 3 to 5 MW. If fact, as a backup power source, this new facility will have 12 (it currently has 8) - 2.5 MW diesel engines that will be able to provide 30 MW if needed in pinch.
- A cooling plant that not only cools 135,000 square feet overall but can provide 13,652 British Thermal Units per Hour to a space about the size of 7' x 1' x 2'. That relates to the ability to deliver the cooling power of a window mounted AC unit to cool the space of a utility closet.
- Multilayered physical security setup that includes security guards, "man trap" entry, closed circuit TV, infrared motion detection and "hand geometry" scanners.
- The ability to deal with fire, wind, flooding or earthquake.
Ok, but I bet that laundry list doesn't quite impress (or maybe it does I don't know). They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what does this facility actually look like? Well I'm pretty sure photos are a no-no for privacy reasons. As I mentioned colos provide space, power and bandwidth to multiple companies, companies that can be competitors in any given market space. Hence my assumption that pulling out the camera phone is probably a bad idea. In fact, in this facility we are moving into most of the actual colo floor space is lights-out - of course the whole building isn't lights-out, just the more sensitive spaces. So with the exception of a few well placed guiding lights such that one can find one's assigned space and not trip over one's own two feet there is not much one can see, let alone picture.
Having said that here's a little marketing vid, take of it what you will, I'm still impressed.