Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Security IT

Inside Las Vegas' Biggest Data Centre 106

Posted by timothy
from the you-must-walk-through-the-casino-first dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Inside Las Vegas' Biggest Data Centre

Comments Filter:
  • 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.

    • by borcharc (56372) *

      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.

    • I saw that movie, "Mad Max" was it?
  • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 18, 2011 @07:19PM (#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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          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.

          • by SJ (13711)

            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. Esp

            • by tnk1 (899206)

              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. The

              • by drsmithy (35869)

                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

            • by perpenso (1613749)

              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

            • by Eivind (15695)

              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 abou

          • by improfane (855034)

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

            • by perpenso (1613749)

              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

            • by ncc74656 (45571) *

              Something is wrong with you if you have an irrational fear of firearms.

              FTFY [lmgtfy.com]. At least your nick's appropriate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 creat

      • by vasqzr (619165)

        An un-loaded gun is pretty useless.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          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.

          • by deets52 (2347216)

            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.

            A loaded gun can be fired at you in a smaller number of seconds.

            The only time your weapon should be unloaded is when you hand it to someone.

        • by rhook (943951)

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

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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.

    • 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
      • by zummit (448138)

        Tasers in a data center ... that sounds like carrying a gun on a pressurized aircraft. Doh!

    • by vasqzr (619165)

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

      • 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.

        • 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

    • 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

  • Okay...Supernap it is.

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

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

    • by EvilStein (414640)

      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."

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        I did. Quoting the post is usually a good sign that it has been read. So to re-iterate more specifically for those that don't think after reading a fucking post...

        How a Solar One style power generator isn't cost-effective boggles my mind. ie. If the solutions they were looking for were not space-efficient they didn't look for anything more than panels on the roof. A Solar One style power generator can be built any place. The money made by adding power to the grid is close to a 1:1 deduction to the cost

  • 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. :-)

  • 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.

  • I live in Vegas and would at least like to comment on a couple of items:

    Power in Vegas by Nevada Power (published data) is approximately 23% coal, 67 % Natural Gas, 4% Hydroelectric, 3.8% Geothermal, 0.85% Nuclear, and 0.5 % solar per their generation stats. Nevada Power generate 68% of their power and they buy the rest. Solar is available and it does make sense, but the republican politicians and killing the projects. Nevada Solar One (http://www.acciona-na.com/About-Us/Our-Projects/U-S-/Nevada-Solar-One)

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Working...