News & Insights

Big Data and Big Tanks

September 6, 2017 | Posted in Data Centers

Technology has become such an integral part of our everyday life today, there is hardly anything that we participate in that is not “connected”. Whether it is online shopping, social networking, smartphone apps, credit-card transactions, health insurance, banking, government programs, etc. – technology is everywhere. The one consistent thing about these technology companies is that they require more and more storage space for their data. Tanks Direct has participated in dozens of data center projects over the years and the requirements of these facilities usually mean large storage tanks are an integral part of the project.

Big Data and Big Tanks
1 of 4 – 50,000 Gallon Fuel Oil Storage Tanks – Ashburn, VA

Emergency Fuel Oil Systems
The most common application that we see is emergency generator fuel storage. As you might imagine, data centers cannot go down for any period of time without a major disruption to their client’s business and ultimately (potentially) the loss of data and confidence in the security of the data. In many of these facilities, multiple clients are served and the facilities are partitioned into sections. This allows for easy expansion and contraction as needed. With this configuration, we are often seeing multiple large underground fuel tanks and dozens of smaller day tanks connected to individual large generator sets. This allows for zoning of the facility and optimizing the ability to serve their client’s needs when there is a power outage of any kind. When the primary power goes down, the emergency generators draw off of the individual day tanks to power up their zone for a prescribed period of time. This can be as little as 8 hours or as long as a week. For this reason, multiple large underground fuel tanks are generally needed. On two recent projects, we installed 200,000 (MCC1) gallons and 160,000 (ACC9) gallons of reserve fuel oil, respectively.

Day Tank and Large Emergency Generator
Day Tank and Large Emergency Generator

Water Storage Systems
Another common application that we see is thermal water storage. This is primarily for HVAC applications. The water is part of the cooling system and is recycled through the system and used as thermal storage. Heat is a big concern in data centers. Computer servers, data storage units, and most of the equipment required for these systems generate quite a bit of heat when in operation. Most data storage has backup battery systems to provide uninterrupted power to these computers. These are short-term until the emergency generators kick on. There is also a concern of overheating of these systems in the short period of time (say 8-10 minutes) between when the power goes down, the generators kick on and the air conditioners get back up to temperature. These reserve cooling water tanks provide additional cooling during that period of time.

3 of 6 Cooling Water Storage Tanks – Manassas, VA
3 of 6 Cooling Water Storage Tanks – Manassas, VA

More to Come
Northern Virginia has been established as the data center capital of the United States and possibly the world. The expectation is that as many as 200 more of these facilities are expected to be constructed over the next 10 – 12 years throughout the United States. If you are reading this on your cell phone or tablet or computer, you will already realize that technology is not going anywhere so the demand for reliable, secure storage of data will only grow in the future.

Trust the Experts
Here at Tanks Direct, we understand data center construction and the speed and precision that is required to work in this market. In the past 10 years, we have participated in dozens of these projects in both the Mid-Atlantic region and throughout the country. We are a full-service supplier and installer of underground fuel storage systems, day tanks, pump sets, fuel polishers, water storage tanks, rainwater harvesting systems, and many other applications that may be found at data centers. Contact us today if you are designing, bidding, or constructing one of these facilities.

Trust The Full Service Tank Experts.

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