Why Colocate To An Omaha Data Center

When big companies think of colocation data centers, they're probably thinking of 60 Hudson St in New York City or One Wilshire in Los Angeles, California. Where else should they be thinking? Why, Omaha, Nebraska, of course.

Omaha? What's in Omaha? Well, billionaire Warren Buffett, the 'Oracle of Omaha', and his legendary Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate holding company. That's just one of five Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Omaha. In fact, Forbes magazine has called Omaha the nation's number one 'Best-Bang-For-The-Buck City.' More to the data center point, Omaha is home to the Scott Data Center complex.

Scott Data Center offers over 110,000 square feet of data storage facilities. It has been continually operating since 2006 and is currently just one of two multi-tenant data centers in the United States to achieve Tier III Certification for both design and construction. This certification was awarded by the Uptime Institute, an industry organization focused on improving data center performance and efficiency. They award tier certifications in 26 different countries. Tier III facilities support critical business applications.

One of the newest tenants is Level 3 Communications, the worldwide telecommunications carrier for voice, data, and video. Level 3 is deploying a new enterprise-grade data center within the Scott Data Center complex. It will join more than 350 Level 3 data center facilities in North America, Europe and Latin America. You can select the level of service you require, including the Premier Elite facilities, such as the new Level 3 Omaha data center. All of these data centers are connected via Level 3's 165,000 intercity, metro and subsea fiber route miles that provide low latency access to corporate assets around the world.

But, still, why Omaha? The fact that Omaha is located in the center of the United States is an asset when it comes to disaster prevention and recovery. If you are insistent on avoiding a situation that wipes out your headquarters building and takes all of your IT facilities with it, you need redundant data centers that are geographically diverse. Keeping everything in one building is efficient, but it is risky for floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires. A separate facility across town is one step better. A facility someplace else in the country that doesn't have the same risks is better yet.

Omaha isn't subject to earthquakes and certainly not likely to be a victim of any coastal tsunamis. The Scott Data center design protects it from any potential seismic activity. It is elevated out of the flood plain to avoid any issues with an overflowing Missouri River. Yes, tornadoes can be an issue in the MidWest, but the Scott facility can withstand 250+ mph winds and the uplift of tornado level winds.

There are also financial advantages to locating in Omaha. Electrical power is available and costs well below the national average. You know that data centers are power intensive, both for equipment operation and cooling. There are also pricing and tax incentives that make Omaha an attractive place to build an expensive and sophisticated facility like a data center.

By the way, Scott Data Center meets the security requirements of the Department of Defense. That includes a 24/7 security desk, gated perimeter, dual authentication, surveillance cameras, barrier wall, man-traps, biometrics, generator backup and redundant cooling. Think your equipment and data will be safe? You think right.

Are you thinking about relocating your data center or establishing a complementary or alternative colocation facility to current coastal locations? Get features and pricing on colocation data center facilities available in Omaha and nationwide to meet your business needs.

Source: Telexplainer: http://t1rex.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-colocate-to-omaha-data-center.html?m=1

In Omaha, Power Upgrades Attract Level 3

Level 3 Communications announced this week that it is deploying a new enterprise-grade data center facility located in the Scott Data Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Level 3 selected the Scott facility to address increasing demand for higher density application servers and storage environments.

The Scott Data Center in Omaha, Nebraska is set to complete a 15 month renovation project that updates and expands the 110,000 square foot multi-tenant facility. The infrastructure updates are set to go live on July 1, and featured the renovation of 50,000 square feet and the addition of a separate 30,000 square foot power plant to house 2.5 megawatt generators.

These upgrades will allow the company the ability to deliver approximately three times the amount of power to customers, including Level 3 (LVLT).

"Enterprises and government agencies increasingly demand protection for critical data and applications to ensure their ability to maintain the continuity of their business operations and avoid any potential disruption," said Mike Benjamin, Level 3's vice president of data center product management. "In today's environment, customers need more redundancy, power and cooling systems; however, achieving this top-tier reliability can be cost prohibitive for many organizations. With this new facility, we can offer customers all of these benefits while minimizing the financial burden of owning and maintaining their own facility."

The renovated facility offers its customers remote monitoring access, so companies can track energy usage, temperature of the servers, server speed, power output and other factors from anywhere. There are plans to renovate the remaining 30,000 square feet of data center space in the coming years.

In operation since 2006, the Scott Data Center started at 50,000 square feet and added 30,000 square feet in 2008. The data center sits in the Scott Technology Center campus, which was established in 2002 when Level 3 Communications chairman Walter Scott Jr. and the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation invested in a an initial 60,000 square foot facility to serve as a technology incubator for industry, government and academia.

In 2011 the company received Uptime Institute Tier III Design Certification, and in June 2012 it received an Uptime Institute Tier III Construction Certification. This puts the company as the first data center in Nebraska and the second of only two multi-tenant data centers in the United States to achieve both Tier III Design and Construction Certification.

Scott Data Center Receives Second Uptime Tier III Certification

Keeping in line with their commitment to providing a superior level of security and protection for their clients' best ideas—their data, Scott Data Center has received Tier III Certification in Construction from the Uptime Institute.

Along with the Scott Data Center’s existing Tier III Design Certification, Scott Data Center is now the first data center in Nebraska and the second of only two multitenant data centers in the United States to achieve both Tier III Design and Construction Certification.

Achieving both design and construction certification means Scott Data Center’s building plans were drawn to provide superior protection, and the physical construction of the building ensured the plans became a reality.

Data centers seek certification from the Uptime Institute because it provides unbiased, third-party research into data center reliability. The results of their evaluations are represented by the Uptime-designed Tier ranking system. While other “self-proclaimed” tier rankings are often inaccurate, Uptime’s Tier system measures how the data centers they evaluate meet stringent criteria for each Tier ranking, certifying their ability to provide outstanding data protection.

"This designation means a great deal to both our clients and us, as the Uptime Institute is the gold standard in independent global data center evaluation. We feel our center is exceptional and Uptime endorsement certifies it," said Ken Moreano, President of Scott Data Center.

For more information about the Uptime Institute, visit www.uptimeinstitute.com.

An amped-up Scott Data Center

Omaha World Herald article, June 17, 2012

This is no ordinary data center.

The physical operations and capabilities of Omaha's newly renovated Scott Data Center — set to go online July 1 — are enough to leave you gawking, much like you would at an impressive animal exhibit at the zoo.

As a matter of fact, some elements of the facility were inspired by Omaha's famed Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Consider the data center's numbers:

  • Its water system at full capacity can chill 6,000 gallons of water every 60 seconds.
  • Its cooling system, used to keep servers and computer equipment at a comfortable temperature and humming along, possesses the power equivalent of 135,000 refrigerators.
  • Four on-site generators can consume more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel per hour, and enough fuel is stored in mammoth drums inside the center to drive a car around the world 20 times.

In total, the Scott Data Center's on-site systems generate enough power to illuminate more than 2,000 Nebraska homes.

Additionally — and this is where the zoo inspiration comes in — the data center is designed to provide a bit of education to students at the Peter Kiewit Institute, the collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha that is focused on the areas of information science, technology and engineering. Scattered about the 80,000-square-foot data center are windows exposing the inner workings of the center and an automated audio system that describes what the various operations do and how they work.

Although the Scott Data Center isn't the largest multitenant facility in the country, it is known nationally as one of the best, said Ken Moreano, president of the data center and executive director of the Scott Technology Center.

“We think our record is strong,” Moreano said. The data center hasn't had an outage or any downtime since it opened in 2006, he said, and “this quickly put us on a national stage.”

Updates over the last 15 months included renovation of 50,000 square feet and the addition of a separate, 30,000-square-foot power plant to house massive, 2.5-megawatt generators. And there are plans in coming years to renovate the remaining 30,000 square feet of data center space, Moreano said. He declined to disclose the cost of the renovation, which was privately funded by the Scott Foundation.

The renovated space and additional generators mean the same amount of space now can deliver three times as much electrical power, which is important for companies needing to process more data without growing their data center footprint, Moreano said.

In the long run, the not-for-profit data center, Moreano said, will help support the education initiatives of the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation and the Peter Kiewit Institute. Developing a successful business model would provide capital back to the foundation to increase its scholarship base and other community activities.

“I think those are bigger-picture goals,” Moreano said.

When the operation goes online, it will carry ratings making it one of the top multitenant data centers in the country. Multitenant data centers, unlike corporate centers that house servers for an individual company, include operations from dozens of companies, from Fortune 500 firms to small businesses.

Other multitenant data centers in the Omaha metropolitan area include CoSentry, near 94th Street and West Dodge Road; First National Technology Solutions; and Pinpoint Network Solutions.

Among those impressed by the Scott Data Center's nearly-completed facilities were a trio of specialists from the Uptime Institute, a third-party data center certification firm that recently spent four days testing and analyzing the facilities before giving the Scott center a Tier Three rating.

The achievement makes the Scott Data Center one of only 14 Tier Three data centers in the United States, the only one in Nebraska or Iowa, and one of the top multitenant facilities in the nation, said Julian Kudritzki, vice president of the Uptime Institute, which certifies data centers around the world.

“There are so few data centers certified as Tier Three because not everyone needs enterprise-grade service. For those companies whose business is highly reliant on data and information technology, an outage would be like having a heart attack,” he said.

The Scott center is “making a bold statement about what they can and will deliver,” Kudritzki said.

It's common for data centers like the Scott facility, which opened in 2006, to undergo at least some equipment upgrades, but full-blown renovations are less common, Kudritzki said.

The renovated facility offers its customers remote monitoring access, so companies can track energy usage, temperature of the servers, server speed, power output and other factors from anywhere. The center also has a secured area where telecommunications firms can connect to swap Internet traffic.

When the project is completed, the data center will employ a total of 10 full-time employees, including security, electricians and engineers, up from six full-time before the renovation. During construction, as many as 60 workers were working on the project.

As part of the Scott Technology Center, which serves as an incubator to growing technology firms, and the Aksarben-area community, which includes the Peter Kewit Institute, operations for Blue Cross Blue Shield and other businesses, the data center could become part of collaborations that help grow Omaha's tech business community, Moreano said.

“The infrastructure's here to do some really innovative things,” he said. “You have forward-thinking people both at the university and the businesses that are located here, so I think the innovation infrastructure is definitely being established.

“The conditions are set to see some really interesting developments.”

Contact the writer:

402-444-1414, ross.boettcher@owh.com