The hulking Switch SuperNAP 8 data storage facility in Enterprise may not look like much, but the data fortress keeps the servers of Fortune 500 companies such as eBay and Fox Broadcasting Network running around the clock.
It takes a lot to ward off the mechanical and human errors that routinely threaten servers’ operations, but the SuperNAP 8's system is among the most elaborate and secure in the world. Last week, the facility near Warm Springs Road and Decatur Boulevard earned Tier IV Gold certification for Operational Sustainability, the top certification level available in the data storage industry.
Tier IV Gold means the facility has the highest levels of redundancy and efficiency to counter the risks that lead to data center outages — a power failure or careless employee, for example. Those measures include generators, backup fuel supplies, batteries and remote power panels. That's in addition to security systems that include rotating keys, souped-up AC units and a roof that can withstand winds of up to 200 mph.
“Even if a mistake is made, stuff is still working the minute you want to use it,” said Missy Young, SuperNAP’s executive vice president of co-location. “We’re designed, built and operated that way. That’s really critical to any company that has any servers anywhere. If your site goes down, customers will go to your competitor’s site. You can’t risk that.”
SuperNAP 8 is only the fourth data facility in the world to earn Title IV Gold certification, and it is the first carrier-neutral co-location facility, meaning it isn't beholden to a particular data carrier or company. Switch's servers run 24/7, and the SuperNAP 8 has yet to see a single instance of server downtime, company officials said.
Moreover, the company has no plans to rest on its laurels. Switch will open a new SuperNAP 9 facility in Las Vegas during the second quarter of 2015. At 575,000 square feet and 110 megawatts of power, it is expected to be almost twice the size of its predecessor. Plans for a SuperNAP 10 also are being finalized.