Live Data Center Infrastructure Upgrades

Members of the e3i team have been continuously working with this confidential health insurance client for many years as program/project managers and electrical and mechanical engineers. As part of this long-standing relationship, e3i is providing program and project management services as well as electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection engineering. As program managers, e3i Engineers has partnered with civil, structural and architectural firms to provide comprehensive design, construction administration and consulting services.

e3i Engineers provided a master plan in 2015 that outlined several areas of upgrades required to retain the resiliency required to support this Fortune 100 company’s data center. The master plan provided a “roadmap” to forecast planned capital spend and times of reduced redundancy.

The first and most intrusive upgrade was to replace the end-of-life, single point of failure switchgear and generators with a new, resilient configuration while never shutting the facility down. e3i’s design included coordination with the power company to allow a paralleled transfer capability as well as concurrent maintenance. The installation of 6MW of generation included paralleling gear that was segregated electrically and physically. Coordination with multiple utility feeders and transformers allows the operations team to transition seamlessly from utility to generator during testing and maintenance.

e3i engineers worked with our client’s IT team to develop a “playbook” for the replacement and upgrade of multiple UPS systems, associated paralleling gear, and the existing power distribution units (PDUs) without interruption to critical computing. This carefully orchestrated and systemic replacement was carried out over multiple weekends with precision and zero downtime.

Computational Fluid Dynamic modeling (CFD) and failure scenario testing showed the need to upgrade the existing chillers, pumping and control strategies. e3i Engineers mechanical and electrical teams combined to design a new chiller plant configured for multiple electrical or mechanical failures and upgraded the chillers to a modern, highly efficient design. Again, the design and implementation was accomplished without any interruption to the computing environment.