Vegas datacentre bets on 100% uptime

A few miles from the glitzy casinos of the Las Vegas strip stands a highly secure, 407,000-square foot building which - according to the man who operates it - is the most energy efficient, high-density datacentre in the world.

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A few miles from the glitzy casinos of the Las Vegas strip stands a highly secure, 407,000-square foot building which - according to the man who operates it - is the most energy efficient, high-density datacentre in the world.

Rob Roy, the CEO, founder and chairman of Switch Communications Group, is walking the halls of his seventh and most impressive datacentre, the SuperNAP, from which he provides co-location services to some of the world's biggest organisations. At 3 p.m., one hour into giving a tour, it's clear that Roy is not a man who easily runs out of energy.

"Do we have a time limit?" he asks. "This is my last thing of the day, so I'll just talk till midnight."

The tour ends by 4pm, eight hours early, but Roy has plenty of time to explain why the SuperNAP is a safe bet for organisations with the strictest uptime and security requirements. What makes the SuperNAP so interesting? Here are some of the highlights:

Guaranteed 100% uptime

Five nines of availability doesn't impress Roy. "We give 100% service-level agreements, guaranteed," he says. "Obviously, that's a big monetary risk if I didn't feel this design was ready for that. Our NAP 4 facility, which is our next biggest site [and also in Las Vegas], for three years has had 100% uptime."

The SuperNAP (network access point) operates its own 250 megavolts ampere (MVA) substation, 146 MVA of generator capacity and 84 MVA of UPS (uninterruptable power supply), topped off with 30,000 tons of redundant cooling.

"Our network for six years has never had an outage," Roy says. "Every single part of it fails. In any given month, something fails. Blades fail, Cisco routers fail, carriers fail, Sprint fails, Verizon fails, AT&T fails. But we build this stuff in such a redundant manner. The chance of something happening with us where you have an outage is really less than anywhere from a design standpoint."

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