The Social Security Administration made a move to a smaller facility in late September with the opening of the agency's new Maryland data center. The complex, located outside of Frederick, Maryland, will replace a more than 30-year old building at their Baltimore headquarters.
The construction of the new Maryland data center was made possible with $500 million in economic stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The facility, which consists of two stories and 300,000 square feet, is actually 35 percent smaller than the original Baltimore data center.
Sustainable materials were used in the construction of the facility, and eco friendly technologies were incorporated like energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as on-site sources of renewable energy have also been utilized. The new facility is projected to use 30 percent less electricity than the average data center, as the building's computers will be powered in part by four acres of photovoltaic panels. The SSA is seeking LEED Gold certification for the Maryland data center in acknowledgement of its environmental efforts.
"The interior spaces and infrastructure are designed for flexibility, ensuring that as technology, staffing and energy needs change, updates can be made with relative ease and at minimal cost," said Norman Dong, public buildings service commissioner with the General Services Administration.
The SSA's Maryland data center will be used to store demographic, salary and benefit information on almost every citizen, and computer operations will be housed in the facility that are essential to the efficient delivery and accurate payment of Social Security benefits. The computers in the facility will be monitored remotely by employees in the Baltimore headquarters, as well as at a backup North Carolina data center used for disaster recovery.