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Inside Las Vegas' Biggest Data Centre

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-must-walk-through-the-casino-first dept.

Data Storage 106

twoheadedboy writes "Las Vegas data centres are just as opulent as the casinos which litter the vibrant city. SuperNAP is the biggest in all Las Vegas, with 400,000 square feet of servers using around 100 megawatts of power. There's some serious security too, comprised mostly of ex-US Marines who patrol the perimeter on foot and in Humvees, all armed with assault rifles. Private military contractors are needed in the IT world too, it seems. IT Pro got a look around this impressive DC."

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IS IT BIGGER THAN MINE ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805316)

Don't think so !!

Why build in such a hot area? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805376)

When I think of Las Vegas I think of warm temperatures year round. I realize that evaporative cooling in pretty cheap, but water in Las Vegas is becoming expensive and scarce. Why not build data centers in cold climates so you can run the economizer on your HVAC a good portion of the year?

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805444)

It takes less energy to cool a hot place than to warm a cold place. (It's thermodynamics, I think.)

Vegas is also very pro-business and densely populated.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805580)

Its actually easier to warm a cold place than warm a hot place. In a cold climate, you just add more computer equipment.

For every watt you put into computer equipment, that's a watt you have to burn cooling said equipment (when having to cool the equipment).

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806848)

Well if you're operating heat pumps with a COP of 1, yes.

I would expect a little better than that, though. In fact I'm surprised at the boast that they get a COP of 4 (1/4 kW to cool each kW produced). Perhaps the outdoor temperature doesn't allow for much beyond that.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807208)

It'd probably make more sense doing geothermal during the day, and a straight air exchange at night, with the temp dropping low enough at night and the humidity being fairly non-existent in the desert that you don't need to condition the air (in the dark hours).

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805740)

I dont see how that works, in this case heat (the scarce thing in the cold enviroment) is a waste product to be disposed of

but also vegas is surrounded by flat empty land, perfect when you want a giant metal shed and a fence

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805842)

It takes less energy to cool a hot place than to warm a cold place.

I don't think that's the issue here. The need of cooling a hot place is a fact. The issue is, isn't easier (and more efficient) to cool a hot place in a cold environment than one in a cold environment.

And the answer is: if you're in a cold environment, you may only need to suck cold air from outside and pull the hot one out. If you're in a hot environment, you have to cool the air before the displacement take place.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805820)

I suspect that the low humidity might make it easier to cool, but I could be wrong.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806998)

Air with more moisture in it holds more heat, which makes it harder to cool that air, but it also makes that air less capable of absorbing heat. However, with the current trend towards liquid cooling of servers to increase rack density, moist air produces a condensation risk. In general electronics don't like humidity...

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807006)

Low humidity only makes things easier to cool when you have plentiful water. The problem with places with a lack of humidity is that they also tend to lack water. Las Vegas only exists because Hoover Dam is there to provide water. Southern California has far exceeded the population the land can actually support, and their water demands have been slowly draining Lake Mead over the past 20 years. Amusingly, nearly a third of the power it produces is used to run the pumps that are draining the river.

If Southern California doesn't curb their water consumption, or switch to desalinization, in the next few decades, Las Vegas will become a ghost town.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806094)

Other reasons to build in Las Vegas:

Earthquake? No.
Flood? No.
Snow? Well, yes. Blizzard? No.
Severe Thunderstorms? Rarely.
Tornado? Very rarely.
Volcano? No.
Tsunami? No.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807872)

It often floods in Las Vegas when it rains. In fact flash flood warnings are quite common.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (2)

brainchill (611679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806764)

There are several reasons for building in Las Vegas - -Electricity is very, very cheap and being consumed so steadily by so many entities that it's easy to look "green" in this environment because the datacenter electric consumption is dwarfed by the use of all of those mega casinos, hotels, attractions, etc by so much that the IT use just looks like a blip on the radar. -It really does require less energy to condition/cool air in the desert than it does in most of the rest of the country. This is actually for a couple of reasons 1.The facilities are effectively big caves .. they are several feet thick cement walls that are light colored on the outside. They are so well insulated that the outdoor heat doesn't have a chance of making it inside. 2. The humidity in this area is naturally so low that no additional energy is required when cooling the air to dehumidify it. Imagine being in virginia or pennsylvania where the humidity is 60-80% outdoors. Half of that humidity has to be pulled from the air and siphoned off 3. they use strict hot/cold aisle separation where the whole facility becomes a plenum and duct system and the super-heated air is just ducted directly outside. The racks sit on cool cement floors and cold air pours directly into the front of the equipment and the air that runs through the equipment goes directly up through the roof duct system where it is contained and exhausted. 4. with the addition and application of simple evaporative cooling that is greatly accelerated in ultra arid climates you can save nearly 30% of the cost of using gas compression cooling only.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807386)

Their 2 largest customers, the casino transaction company and the US government both have a huge presence in the area.

Wynn resorts, for example, generates about $23 million/day on table games (slots are another $20 or so). That's 4 casinos out of the dozens that are on the strip.

Nellis Air Force Base is close to Las Vegas, as is Edwards AFB. I'm sure there is a lot of fiber between LV and the military bases, and it is a nice central location, with access to power, cheap labor (who wouldn't want to live in LV? /sarcasm), and data lines.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (2)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807438)

People think the desert is hot. As a born and raised in the Mojave desert "desert rat" I can say that is only true sometimes. Dry air heats quickly and cools quickly and winters are chilly - they even had snow on the strip last year. According to Switch (I have had equipment in the SuperNAP for well over 2 years) they only need to chill the outside air 30% of the year. Then you switch to evaporative. But they are able to run air-cooled as well - they don't need water to keep things cool, it just costs more in power.

Re:Why build in such a hot area? (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807858)

Las Vegas is not warm year round, in fact the average temperature is under 70f 5 months out of the year.

The security force can requisition fuel??? (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805452)

Due to its government contracts the security force (made up mostly of ex-marines armed with assault rifles) can requisition fuel wherever they find it locally in the event of a power outage???

Say, that's reassuring.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (1)

borcharc (56372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805614)

yeah... these guys are clearly smoking crack. all we need is another dumb ass with a private army running around nevada thinking they are god.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806018)

Private companies in the US are allowed armed guards?

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (2)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806172)

Yes. Virtually any entity can hire armed guards in the US.

In 40 or so states, a person can carry a firearm by meeting an objective set of criteria. In the other 8, there are some more subjective criteria used by the issuing authority. Hawaii and Illinois are the two that don't issue. Hawaii has a law, but the issuing authorities don't issue to anyone, and Illinois doesn't have a law allowing issuing permits.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807912)

Illinois doesn't have a law allowing issuing permits

...to regular people. In illinois you can be appropriately bonded, trained and licensed to carry a firearm on the job. Security and private investigation firms often have staff that carry, and are neither law enforcement or military.

You can read more at the Department of Professional Regulation.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (1)

borcharc (56372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811296)

Armed guards are normal and operate without incident, claiming you can send your armed guards out to pillage the communities fuel is quite another thing

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811752)

Arizona is one of the states who actually understand the US Constitution; and specifically the second amendment. In Arizona, its legal to open carry. This story was well publicized. [youtube.com] The Secret Service was very pissed off about it but there was nothing they could do. The Secret Service feels only the government should be allowed to carry weapons.

Accordingly, hiring private guards who can carry weapons is pretty easy. And if you have deep enough pockets, its pretty easy to do in most states.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806258)

They don't actually carry assault rifles around. They are racked in plain view in the Security Office, though. And Nevada being a 'Must Issue' state, there are certainly private weapons being carried.

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36812916)

I live in Las Vegas, and frequently see large hummer-style black-white SUVs with the the word "Switch" on them on East Sahara, where one of their smaller DC's are located. Occasionally I see some of their security guys with holstered sidearms in military-style fatigues coming into various eateries near the DC.. They definitely have the Marines/SpecialForces/SEAL-look about them...

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806720)

I saw that movie, "Mad Max" was it?

Re:The security force can requisition fuel??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809142)

I noticed that claim myself, and I seriously doubt that private security guards have that kind of legal authority.

So what, Vegas gets a big thunderstorm and a bunch of Blackwater wannabe's are going to go out, wave their muscles, and start pumping diesel fuel out from gas stations - and they think that nobody is going to forcefully object?

commercial or industrial? (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805472)

Come to think, I wonder if a DC is classified as commercial or industrial? I'm guessing it'd be industrial because of the size, but a DC could be commercial because of the locality restrictions (you want them sparsely covering everywhere - I think). I've got data on the one but not the other.

Security overkill (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805498)

Speaking as somebody that has been inside the facility, the security can get a little bit of an "itchy trigger finger".

It's hard enough to do a job at the last notice, but having some beefed up ex-military guy from Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. is not all that it is cracked up to be. They walk around all dressed in black with pistols and assault rifles. That part is not a joke at all, and this is inside the facility.

So when you are trying to take a server out of a rack and service it, or take equipment out, it makes it just a ohhh so fun fun day to have one of those hopped up alpha male psychopaths have one hand on their weapon and the other hand on the radio. Seriously? I am inside a locked down facility. Get your fucking hands off the assault rifles when you start talking to me. I'm a fucking IT guy.

All because shit is moving fast in my world and some desk monkey did not talk fast enough to another desk monkey in their company.

It sounds great in literature and brochures, but when you actually have to walk down aisles and deal with those guys it is another matter entirely. I would rather just be in another data center where there are not armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo.

Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805992)

I would rather just be in another data center where there are not armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo.

Did you inspect that weapon? Its nearly a certainty that the chamber was empty and likely that the magazine in the weapon was also empty. Live rounds are probably in magazines in a pouch. Active duty Marines sometime carry their weapons in such a state. Why the empty magazine, closing the dust cover and inserting an empty magazine helps keep the weapon clean.

... it just a ohhh so fun fun day to have one of those hopped up alpha male psychopaths ...

I think this is the most telling part of your post. You seem have some phobias and prejudices.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806278)

You seem have some phobias and prejudices.

Professional killers may be nice people, but when they are "on the job" and you are classified as "potentially hostile", it is not irrational to feel uncomfortable.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806398)

You seem have some phobias and prejudices.

Professional killers may be nice people, but when they are "on the job" and you are classified as "potentially hostile", it is not irrational to feel uncomfortable.

Actually if you think you are being classified as potentially hostile then I think you are proving my point regarding phobias, perhaps even tin foil hat'ish. They guy looking at you is most likely bored while watching you to make sure you only go where you are supposed to. And referring to military vets as professional killers seems to prove my point regarding prejudices.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

SJ (13711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807008)

A soldiers' job, by definition is to kill/destroy various people/things. How is professional killer not an accurate description?

That's like saying an explosive device shouldn't be called a bomb because it also stops pieces of paper from flying away while it's sitting on a desk.

I don't think it about a phobia it's quite a rational reaction. The point of the firearm is to intimidate. No doubt that any person entering the facility would have been searched prior, so there is no immediate need for a firearm. Especially when that guard would have been assigned to watch the tenant, not actively patrol.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807172)

A soldiers' job, by definition is to kill/destroy various people/things. How is professional killer not an accurate description?

That is not true. Many soldiers are trained and equipped to kill and destroy, if necessary, but that is not their job. Their job is to be able protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. There is the understanding that the other people have guns and missiles and artillery, so they have to have those and be ready to use them, but you don't need to kill someone to do your job as a soldier. I've known soldiers who have never killed or even shot at anyone, even when assigned to war zones. They were doing just as important and necessary a job as the guys doing the shooting, and they were in no less danger.

Professional killers are paid to kill. That is what they do. Assassins and hit men do only one thing: kill people. When they aren't killing someone, they are waiting to kill someone else. That's not a soldier, even if a great deal of what a soldier does is train for war.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809020)

If their job is to protect and defend the constitution of the US, can you please tell your military idiots that they can do this comfortably in the US and that there is no need to invade other countries for doing so.
Thank you.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36809266)

Absolutely off topic but this is so true.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36810414)

Many soldiers are trained and equipped to kill and destroy, if necessary, but that is not their job. Their job is to be able protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

...By killing and destroying.

I don't have a problem with soldiers, but saying they can't be considered "professional killers" because they can also do other stuff, when it's the training to kill that distinguishes them from anyone else who could also do the other stuff, seems rather silly.

The point of soldiers is to kill the bad guys. That's their job. That there are a lot of supporting functions necessary to support the core purpose of killing does not change this.

Soldiers are basically like cops. They can be really nice people right up until the point you do something that sets off their training.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807238)

A soldiers' job, by definition is to kill/destroy various people/things. How is professional killer not an accurate description?

Because all people who kill are not equivalent. The phrase "professional killer" is typically used in the context of criminal activity, probably a murderer of some sort. To use it to describe a soldier is an attempt to construct a framework biased against soldiers. I think the suggestion of prejudice stands.

The point of the firearm is to intimidate.

Perhaps in the mind of a person contemplating conflict. Many other people interact with armed law enforcement officers and the fact that they are armed is irrelevant. I was recently camping in a national park. The park ranger who briefed us on camp regulations was armed, I don't think the men, women and children present cared. His briefing was followed by various questions from the public, everyone seemed to be acting quite normally.

When a "normal" person is told that a security guard is a former Marine they are likely to see that as a positive, that the guard is highly trained in the safe handling of firearms compared to an armed security guard who may have had a 10 week class at the local junior college. A person with a phobia would seem to be more likely to see a former Marine as a "professional killer".

Regarding the description of the guards at the data center a person without a phobia would probably consider it different, strange or a curiosity. As opposed to a person with a phobia who would be more prone to go down the "itchy trigger finger" and "alpha male psychopaths" path.

No doubt that any person entering the facility would have been searched prior, so there is no immediate need for a firearm.

You are ignoring the possibility of a forceful entry. In such a scenario having a firearm nearby would be useful. Much like a guard at a bank.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807560)

Being both an "IT Guy" and a US Marine from 1988-1994 I can tell you that my job while in the USMC was a lot more about other stuff then killing and destroying. Sure all Marines are basic infantry but above all Marines are trained to be problem solvers and to adapt to situations and "killing and destroying" was never a preferred solution to every problem.

You don't just have security at one level. According to your logic no one inside the facility should have a password on their account because only authorised people are let in.

While on active duty I was exposed to classified data constantly but I can assure you that even though I had appropriate security clearance there where still many places that when I walked through them an announcement of "visitor on deck" was yelled out and any classified information was secured and often I had an armed escort with me.

There is still a lot of damage you can do even without a weapon. The guards are not only carrying weapons in case you have one.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808308)

Not really. Soldiers and/or armed guards are most commonly used as deterrent. That is, their purpose is to discourage other people from getting the idea that one might get away with certain behaviour.

The hosting-facility most definitely do NOT want shooting to occur, inside or ourside the facility. The guards are thus there not for the purpose of shooting. They are there for discouraging creative entrepeneurs from getting certain classes of ideas.

I'm not saying it's not reasonable to feel uncomfortable about people using assault-rifles to assure you're not doing anything you shouldn't. But that's the point: to discourage you from dumb ideas. If the rifle is ever fired, that's a failure, not a success. (either it didn't discourage as intended, or else, it was fired in error, both would be bad)

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36809250)

Something is wrong with you if you are comfortable around people holdings live firearms.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36813800)

Something is wrong with you if you are comfortable around people holdings live firearms.

Really? I was camping recently and I noticed that the park ranger who briefed us on current conditions and regulations was armed. I didn't think anything of it, did not feel intimidated and did not hesitate to ask some questions regarding whether certain types of gear were allowed or not (ex chem tablet stove, is it classified as a gas stove or an open fire?).

I've seemed armed guards at banks, exchanged smiles, and didn't give it another thought.

I was once driving home and found the road barricaded by police, SWAT team members were there with presumably automatic weapons. I did not fear the SWAT team members. Any concerns I had were regarding the person they were looking for. It turned out someone shot a police officer during a traffic stop and the shooter ran off. Thankfully the officer's body armor caught the bullets.

When I enter a high security building and armed guards are present I view the guards in a manner comparable to the law enforcement officers mentioned above, especially so if they are known to be former military.

I'll also repeat that in the context of the building in question it is a near certainty that the firing chamber's of weapons were empty and that the magazines in the weapons were also likely to be empty. Magazines with live ammo were probably only to be found in pouches. Persons who believe otherwise are apparently not familiar with ordinary firearms safety procedures and common ***insurance company*** restrictions.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36810130)

Wow. You REALLY don't get the original posters concerns which tells me a LOT about you.

You're doing your job and some nut-job with a gun is standing over you ready to blow your head off...? From what I gather you need to go through strict security to get INTO the site in the first place which SHOULD tell the armed nut-job that you are supposed to be there.

Lighten up Francis.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36814030)

Wow. You REALLY don't get the original posters concerns which tells me a LOT about you.

Correct, it says that this particular poster does not share the phobias and prejudices that you and the original poster seem to share. Wasn't that obvious, did you have a point?

You're doing your job and some nut-job with a gun is standing over you ready to blow your head off...? From what I gather you need to go through strict security to get INTO the site in the first place which SHOULD tell the armed nut-job that you are supposed to be there.

Thank you for establishing your off balanced perspective.

Lighten up Francis.

If ever a person should be taking their own advice.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806354)

Had 50 cabinets there. They don't carry assault rifles. Most do carry edged weapons and many probably carry 'personal' weapons (I know the Director of Security did at one time, anyway).

Security there is excellent. The team is very respectful of you, your gear, and the privacy of each of their customers. They have very rigid rules because companies invest millions of $$$ building co-location facility infrastructure within the SuperNAP facility. Add Rob Roy's vision of leveraging large customers to create buying consortium opportunities and excellent relationships with Federal, State, and local governments and you get a top-notch co-location facility. Sales and implementation are great too.

If you're used to very loose process and you're doing things on the fly, without a lot of planning, it can be a pain in the ass. If you plan and manage and communicate, it's less of a problem.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806696)

An un-loaded gun is pretty useless.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806846)

An un-loaded gun is pretty useless.

However an unloaded gun is safer and can be made loaded in a small number of seconds when carried in the manner I described. There are circumstances where having a weapon nearby (including in a sling) is appropriate but having a loaded weapon in hand is inappropriate.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807650)

Really? How long do you think it would take me to load and chamber a round in a M16 or a M1911 or a 9mm or any other magazine fed weapon?

The guys walking the fence are more likely to have a full magazine in their weapons and the bolt locked to the rear, so not even a round chambered, but inside the risks are different and they'd have more time to prepare. Even so to load an assault rifle involves this

Press the magazine release with your trigger finger. (magazine drops to the ground) while grabbing a loaded magazine from your belt
Insert the magazine into the magazine well.
Press the bolt catch which closes the bolt and chambers a round.

I could do this in the complete dark in about 2 seconds while raising my rifle to aim at a threat.

Benefit is a great reduction of accidental discharges.

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807934)

Ever seen what the butt of a rifle can do to a skull?

Re:Maybe your have some phobias and prejudices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806758)

I would rather just be in another data center where there are not armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo.

Did you inspect that weapon?

Okay, yeah. "Hey, ex-marine mercenary. Hand me that gun a minute? I want to look inside!" I bet that goes over *real* well, there.

Re:Security overkill (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806224)

I was just there last week, but at the smaller facility (they have two facilities in Vegas that are supposedly identical other than one's physically smaller than the other). I never saw a single weapon inside the building. The guards were clearly ex-military and/or privately trained security, and they wore very militarized outfits (MOLLE vests, etc), but no weapons to be seen on them. I didn't look around for the external guys, maybe they were carrying.

Re:Security overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806476)

Get your fucking hands off the assault rifles when you start talking to me. I'm a fucking IT guy.

He's holding it wrong?

Re:Security overkill (2)

brainchill (611679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806650)

1. It sounds like you have some problems with the military in this country and people exercising their constitutional rights? 2. I think your perception is a little off. I worked their for a while and none of them openly carry real guns. They are strapped with and walk around carrying tasers not actual guns. Actual guns are available but they are not carried on patrol by the security staff. 3. I worked there as a customer for half a decade under sun microsystems and then an employee for a while after that and the staff was never anything less than helpful and willing to bend over backwards to help any of the customers. The security staff are cordial but firm as it should be. They are all (every single one of them) are nice guys and not one of them are "alpha male psychopaths" They simply have rules and directives that are imposed on the facility as a matter of policy and it is their job to make sure that everyone and everyones property stays safe and secure. 4. They have a big responsibility as every cage in almost every part of all of their facilities across the valley is filled mostly with what would be considered the most high profile targets for any data thief

Re:Security overkill (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806676)

Half the time, ex-military also means ex-Kentucky trailer dweller.

Re: Ex-military means ex-kentucky trailer dweller (1)

brainchill (611679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806882)

Half the time, ex-military also means ex-Kentucky trailer dweller.

As someone who has been responsible for the architecture, design and security of many of the IT products and services that you consume every single day of your life AND a U.S. Air force veteran I can tell you first hand that you are absolutely ignorant and know nothing of which you speak.

Re: Ex-military means ex-kentucky trailer dweller (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811550)

If you are indeed as magnificent as you claim to be, you would know that appealing to authority without supplying even a shred of verifiable proof isnt exactly a good way to lend credibility to your statements.

Not to say i agree with the GPs assesment of ex-military guys in america (i dont know any at all, so i dont have much of a clue about them), but your internet tough guy style rebuttal is actually more ridiculous.

As someone responsible for the design, architecture and reliability of many of the laws of physics that you rely on every single day of your life AND an honorary member of the penthouse super secret "i had sex in space" club, i can tell you first hand that you're a tool.

Re: Ex-military means ex-kentucky trailer dweller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36811796)

You weren't in the military, you were in the Air Force. Zoomies aren't soldiers, they're zoomies.

Re:Security overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36808054)

Wow aren't we a bit ignorant. Perhaps you don't know many US Marines. I can't say that I'd coin many Marines I ever served with as anything like trailer trash. Sure there where some I can say that is true for any industry. One thing many people don't know is that most of the time unstable people are let go from the USMC and these people would not be able to get a job doing security for places like this. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the security staff had to under go a psych eval as part of their employment process.

Re:Security overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806862)

It sounds great in literature and brochures, but when you actually have to walk down aisles and deal with those guys it is another matter entirely. I would rather just be in another data center where there are not armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo.

I don't think it sounds great, even in literature and brochures. Let's keep the meat-heads with guns away from my work environment, please.

Re:Security overkill (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807482)

I have been in the facility for a while now and I have found "itchy trigger finger" to be as far as possible from the truth. Yes, they are professional. But they are also extremely helpful and friendly - something I've found with the techs as well. And no, they don't walk around with assault rifles. They do have arms available in the security office but typically patrol with pepper-spray and Tasers. Like all data-centers (or any workplace) there are rules. But they are pretty basic and easy to follow. I've never found that they impede my ability to get work done.

Bullets! (Was: Security overkill) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36811596)

"...armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo"

Reminds me of a movie line: "Most things in here don't react too well to bullets."

If there was a problem, I'd prefer my servers and switches not have to be bulletproof.

Re:Security overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36812998)

Speaking as somebody that has been inside the facility, the security can get a little bit of an "itchy trigger finger".

It's hard enough to do a job at the last notice, but having some beefed up ex-military guy from Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. is not all that it is cracked up to be. They walk around all dressed in black with pistols and assault rifles. That part is not a joke at all, and this is inside the facility.

So when you are trying to take a server out of a rack and service it, or take equipment out, it makes it just a ohhh so fun fun day to have one of those hopped up alpha male psychopaths have one hand on their weapon and the other hand on the radio. Seriously? I am inside a locked down facility. Get your fucking hands off the assault rifles when you start talking to me. I'm a fucking IT guy.

All because shit is moving fast in my world and some desk monkey did not talk fast enough to another desk monkey in their company.

It sounds great in literature and brochures, but when you actually have to walk down aisles and deal with those guys it is another matter entirely. I would rather just be in another data center where there are not armed guards walking around every corner with live ammo.

If you're not happy with the demenor of one of the guards, you might want to contact Joe McDonald, their director of security.. ie: their boss..

The scary part of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805506)

Intriguingly Switch claims that it can shave 25-40%
off its customer's internet connection costs due to a
project it inherited from Enron before that infamous
company went under. Enron had planned to create
a bandwidth marketplace so bandwidth could be
traded like any otherfinancial instrument or
commodity.

Re:The scary part of the article (1)

brainchill (611679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806598)

This part of the story is actually true. (I worked there for a short while after the sun microsystems buyout by oracle was finalized and most of the grid/cloud business unit staff was cut) They have a very extensive network of dark fiber as well as on-premise peering available in their data centers with most of the tier 1 isp's in this country

What they are really protecting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805618)

I am sure that there is some Vegas IT going through this building, however I would be surprised if that makes up 10% of the funds flowing through here, I would be willing to bet that the more lucrative hosting being done is for the pr0n industry. The security theater and such is very impressive to those clients. (While not really helping much from a realistic security standpoint, I mean the valuable stuff is the data, not the hardware!) Still an impressive data center nonetheless.

Focusing too much on local industry ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806182)

While you may be correct about the lucrative side of the business the article does mention that clients include government agencies, financial institutions, and quasi-fiancial companies like ebay (paypal). I think you are focussing too much on the local industry. Its a data center, clients do not need to be local. Think geographic diversity regarding offsite backups. Somebody in New York or San Francisco may think that Vegas makes a good secondary data site, something immune from a local NY or CA disaster.

Defcon afterparty (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805626)

Okay...Supernap it is.

2008 Called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805778)

JFGI, or search /. for this same article aged to perfection...

Maybe they wouldn't need so much cooling (1)

sg00 (1971262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805844)

if they didn't put a datacentre in the middle of a desert.

Re:Maybe they wouldn't need so much cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806304)

The heat there is less than ideal, but otherwise the location is superb. That region of the country is one of the only that doesn't suffer from any major natural disasters (http://www.switchnap.com/pages/all-things-switch/tier-elite/disaster-avoidance_3.php), it has awesome power infrastructure (Hoover Dam is less than an hour's drive away), and pretty much every fiber carrier of note drops through vegas on their way between the two coasts, making for some incredible connectivity.

Re:Maybe they wouldn't need so much cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806520)

"Electricity supplied by the public grid is piped through what is apparently a specially designed, redundant distribution system. Despite the presence of the Hoover Dam hydroelectric facility in Nevada, almost all of that output goes to California, so the public grid in Las Vegas derives 60% of it supply from natural gas-fuelled power plants."

Re:Maybe they wouldn't need so much cooling (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807046)

Actually, some 40% of the power is split between Arizona and Nevada, with another 30% spent running pumps for the southern California aqueduct. Only about 30% is actually sent to California.

Re:Maybe they wouldn't need so much cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36811774)

The Vegas area isn't as hot as you'd think...or at least, it's not as continually hot as you'd think. SuperNAP is often able to cool the datacenter using nothing but outside air. On their best day their PUE was 1.08 which is just amazing...even more amazing when you see the density.

Wow..talk about empowerment (1)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806004)

"the security force is apparently empowered to requisition fuel wherever it finds it in the city.". I guess this is the same empowerment that allows the *government* to requisition fuel from wherever it finds it in any country...

I don't believe it (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806040)

I don't believe it. If there were that much IT in LV then there would be IT jobs. I haven't seen a single IT job in LV in years - have you?

Re:I don't believe it (2)

brainchill (611679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806556)

Sorry but you are very, very wrong. The las vegas valley is completely full of huge high tech data centers collocating it services for companies all over the country (including the US federal government) Not even counting any of the external colo that's happening there where do you think the IT infrastructure is that supports all of those mega-casinos? These Datacenters! Sun microsystems had "Sun Cloud" facilities in three separate NAP data centers including the supernap and nearly every large it org that you've ever heard of has a presence in their facilities as well. I moved to las vegas because I traveled so much to and from there working on these projects that I never saw my family.

Data Centre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806358)

Las Vegas doesn't have Data Centres, they have Data Centers. I don't care what anybody says "TRE" and "TER" do not make the same sound.

Vegas Illusions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806462)

Like a lot of other things in las vegas the security at nap is all an illusion.

Re:Vegas Illusions. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807226)

Its mostly an illusion because I can't think of anyone who has ever planned to assault a data center when it is easier and more effective to just hire a cracker and break in remotely. The need for that sort of security is limited at best. Physical access trumps everything, but good luck trying to steal data when it's striped across a tray of disks and that's assuming you know which storage array to get stuff from.

As far as people planting stuff in other people's gear, that's why there are cages with locked gates and rent-a-cops watching monitors.

Still it does make for good theater for the sorts of people who like to tour before they drop a few million on rack space and networking.

Re:Vegas Illusions. (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807574)

There is a certain theatrical element to all aspects of the SuperNAP - Switch doesn't make that a secret. I recall a tour when someone said, "Why do we have the lights set up like that? 'Cause it looks cool." As a geek, you gotta respect that. And the touch of theater is pretty nice when you meet a client in Vegas and take them on a tour.

Just because there is a theatrical element does not mean that they are not physically secure. Having toured facilities (some hosting some pretty well-known sites) where the "security" is basically a bored-looking half-asleep receptionist at the door I can say that it is refreshing to be in a facility with a well-staffed and alert security crew.

But I've yet to hear of any data-center being breached or disrupted by a physical attack on the facility so as a customer, I'm far more interested in the "availability" part of the security triad. As such, the dual independent power supplies to our cabinets (with a third bus available to cross-over if one bus is down) are one of the things that keep me happy.

I'd say the real reason... (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807400)

Is that it has consistent temperatures or reasonably so. Maybe not as I'm not an expert on Vegas. A couple of companies have built data centres in Ireland for this reason though and they can use the wind that comes naturally through for cooling to further reduce costs. Ireland has high humidity so I'm not sure how this plays into the whole humidity theory though. Mostly I'd say it is probably for tax breaks and cheap startup costs giving them a fast return on investment.

As someone who has lived in Vegas for 37 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807578)

I can tell you the main reason data centers are placed here is that the climate (while hot in the summertime) is fairly consistent all year round (mild winters, occasionally freezing, and yes, we do get snow on occasion). The average humidity on any given day is 15% or less (so we get static electricity here in the desert).

Anther good reason is that while the Las Vegas Valley does have numerous fault lines, the only areas we normally feel earthquakes from is Boulder City, central NV, or southern California (think Big Bear). We get flooding during monsoon season, but it's not nearly as bad as it was in the 70's and 80's here. No tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

Real Estate is cheap here, but in terms of serious high tech (not counting casinos and defense), it's hard to get companies to relocate (even in a good economy) due to the state of our K-12 system (usually in the bottom 10-20% in the nation), and our higher education system as well (which has also taken a beating budget wise). A huge concern of many businesses that deal in high tech is 'where are we going to get the skilled workers we need...'

I've heard many presentations and have privately spoken with CEO's and CIO/CTO's on numerous occasions, we routinely get beat out by three neighboring states for technology jobs (Utah, Arizona, Colorado) due to their infrastructure, and in general, better educated population...

Re:I'd say the real reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36808092)

A variety of factors:

1) Low taxes
2) Low employee costs
3) COnsistently low humidity (its cheaper to humidify air than de-humidify it)
4) Available land
5) Available power
6) Low natural disaster spectrum

But the main reason?

Fiber. Lots and lots and lots of fiber. Enron built their fiber hub in Las Vegas in the late 1990s and convinced every national carrier to terminate here rather than Los Angeles in 1 Wilshire. So the SuperNAP not only has all of the above, but has ridiculous levels of connectivity.

Re:I'd say the real reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809530)

I had forgotten about that, they did drop an awful lot of fiber back in the 90's in the valley here. Much of it is dark fiber (backup and available for use), though since the economy has slowed to a trickle, not much use for it now. Low Employee costs, perhaps in pay, but health care here is through the roof expense wise (and not all that great).

GCA = 120 servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807526)

"GCA currently uses 120 dedicated physical Cisco blade servers"

Attention IT Pro: This is not impressive.

Long walks (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807618)

I'm fortunate to be an early customer - it's only 1/5 mile round-trip to use the restroom. Parking and the loading-dock are farther. I've walked as much as 60-miles in a week traveling to Vegas. Much is due to schleps in the airports and taking walks after work but I'd estimate that back and forth between the cabinets, car, restroom, break-room and loading-dock accounts for 25-30% of my walking.

Can I get a shell account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807666)

SDF would be way cooler than this place; if they gave me an assault rifle.

Center (2)

chaynlynk (1523701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807708)

I know people like to be culturally diverse and all, but if it is in American English, it's spelled CENTER!

Re:Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36808978)

Get a life maybe?

Re:Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809028)

It is British English ;-)

Re:Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36810712)

But it seems like it is not in American English: www.itpro.co.uk

mojd 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807798)

of Fr3eBSD Usenet F0r a living got

Yuo Fa1l It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807886)

= 1400 NETBSD many users of BSD ass of them all, In addition, That FreeBSD is 3 simple steps! people aldready; I'm

No solar assist? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36810198)

Despite the presence of the Hoover Dam hydroelectric facility in Nevada, almost all of that output goes to California, so the public grid in Las Vegas derives 60% of it supply from natural gas-fuelled power plants.

That is a lot of resources to have on the power grid. Why they don't build a Solar One style power generator for themselves boggles my mind.

Re:No solar assist? (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811128)

Next time, read the fucking article.

"Switch has apparently investigated alternative power sources such as solar power and the possibility of recycling the heat generated by its equipment into energy, but neither methods are cost-effective or space-efficient enough at the moment."

Oracle is like this (1)

phungus (23049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36810358)

I worked at Oracle's large (at the time) flagship datacenter in Texas. The guards there were all armed inside of the building, which was protected by embassy-grade security. I only lasted a few months because the environment was so horribly repressive. I did *not* appreciate having my eye scanned or feeling like I was being watched (by armed guards) all of the day.

Thank goodness I found better. :-)

Was Just There Last Week... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36811132)

Good timing. I just took a tour of that facility last week while in Vegas for Cisco Live (tour here http://jasonnash.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/cisco-live-2011-day-3/). The physical security is impressive and the armed guards are real. You don't often see a rack of AR-15 rifles behind the check-in desk at a data center. What's more impressive than the physical security was the technology. Their density of power and cooling is just amazing. It's not hype..it's real. The SuperNAP currently handles 100MW of power and they are about to move up to 200MW. The layout and planning was very well done. Nothing needs to be ripped and replaced for the upgrades. It's amazing to see that density of gear in every rack and not need to spread out the racks to account for power and cooling overload. What is also impressive is that a lot of the gear they have there was designed, patented, and specially built for them. Other standard manufacturers (such as Liebert) couldn't or just wouldn't meet their demands so they did it themselves and now they are working to offer those products to the rest of the datacenter industry.

Yes...it's overly dramatic with the security and red/blue LED lighting everywhere but they have the technology and facility to back it up.

Disaster Recovery (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811974)

Do they do the disk to disk backups to a semi-trailer or something and drive the entire trailer to the second equally impressive sit each day? I can only imagine how much a site this big costs, considering you would need an identical one hundreds of miles away for disaster recovery. I would love to see an article just on their backup methods alone. Designing a custom backup semi would be amazing.

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