Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) wanted to create a new data centre at the engineering complex at Inchicore Works, west of Dublin, to support crucial switching equipment for the rail network. Originally a railway station built in the 1840s, Inchicore now houses heavy engineering works in a listed sandstone building.
Ramboll's building services engineers were asked to integrate into the building a modern data centre that would be 'future proof', expandable and maintainable, allowing for the relocation of the existing data centre at some point.
In preparation for the installation of services and cabinets, a 110 sq m former storeroom was stripped out. The existing electrical supply for the 73 acre site was routed through several heavy engineering rooms to the new centre via a hefty cable. However, the existing 50 year old switchboard was inadequate for requirements and was replaced. This change necessitated back-feeding through the system to ensure correct discrimination between breakers. The scalable, uninterruptable power source (UPS) has a tier 3 level of resilience, with both battery and diesel generator back up.
To ensure the servers are kept within guideline temperatures, a ‘hot aisle’ arrangement of modular cabinets was put in place. Cool air is pumped through and segregated from the hot air being removed, providing an efficient cooling solution. The plant footprint has been kept as small as possible to maximise the energy efficiency of the space and additional modules can be added as required. Installing free cooling chillers would have increased the power utilisation effectiveness (PUE) at Inchicore but the client elected to make a cost saving in this area.
Finally, a fully integrated system has been included in the design to enable both environmental and UPS conditions to be monitored remotely.