Data Center Market Trends: Underground Data Centers

Toward the beginning of April, Westland Bunker developers announced a partnership with Evolve Data Center Solutions LLC to expand the current underground facility. There are now a number of underground data centers have been cropping up due to the unique benefits that such structures can offer, which include security, safety from natural disasters and naturally stable, low temperatures.

Underground Texas Data Center Expansion
The expansion of the Westland Bunker, situated in Montgomery, Texas, will commence on April 14 and will include new design components from Evolve Data Center Solutions, the Houston Business Journal reported. Furthermore, the project will add 105,000 square feet of space to the facility, as well as 12 megawatts of critical power load.

Builders will also construct a tunnel to connect the existing structure to the newly added space, allowing operators and clients to travel between the two data centers. The campus also includes a four-level, 100,000 square foot building being utilized for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes. Once the expansion is completed early next year, the underground Texas data center will boast a total of 143,000 square feet of data center space.

The Westland facility is a nuclear bomb shelter-turned data center, and some of the shelter's original design elements were kept during the establishment of the underground data center facility. The space being added for expansion will be "built into the side of the surrounding terrain," according to an email from the involved parties.

Underground Pennsylvania Data Center
The Westland Texas data center is not the only underground computing facility currently operating today. There is also the Iron Mountain Underground Pennsylvania data center, located 220 feet below ground in Butler County. The facility is housed in a 145-acre former limestone mine. The Iron Mountain Underground National Data Center is a Tier III structure that boasts 1.7 million square feet of developed space.

The Pennsylvania data center includes more than 200 watts per square foot of critical power load, and the ability to scale up to 1,500 watts. The facility also has redundant uninterruptible power supplies and other backup components for reliable uptime. Additionally, the structure boasts a power usage effectiveness rating of less than 1.3.

Benefits of Underground Data Centers
There are several other underground data centers functioning currently, including the Winchester Business Center Missouri data center, the Granite Mountain Vault Utah data center and the Green Mountain facility in Norway. There is also the Bunker in the United Kingdom, the Info Bunker Iowa data center, the Cavern Technologies Kansas data center and SpringNet and Subtropolis, both in Missouri.

With so many underground facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is important to examine the advantages that such data centers can offer. A main benefit is a protected location from both natural and man-made disasters. As most of these structures are well below the surface of the Earth, they are not affected by severe weather or other dangerous events.

Furthermore, as both the Westland and Iron Mountain facilities repurposed existing structures, they benefited from reduced construction and material costs, as well as a faster deployment time. The cool, underground climate also provides advantages for cooling purposes including more efficient use of the cooling system and reduced energy costs.

Leave a Comment