Although the National Security Agency (NSA)’s Utah Data Center had a ribbon-cutting in late May, it wasn’t the official opening of the massive data facility. The center located in Bluffdale, just over 20 miles from Salt Lake City, is expected to open its doors — at least to a very select group with the appropriate security clearances — this fall.
This June 7, 2013 file photo, shows a military no trespassing sign shown in front of Utah’s NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. The nation’s new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a National Guard base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings span 1.5 million square feet, and are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails. (Photo: AP/Rick Bowmer, File)
But the Salt Lake City Tribune has been keeping tabs on the latest developments of the data center being constructed in its back yard. Here are a few stats and facts about the upcoming facility:
- Project cost: around $1.5 billion
- Size: 1 million square feet. 100,000 square feet will compose four data halls with data-storage servers. 900,000 square feet will serve for technical and administrative support staff,which is expected to be less than 200 employees.
This June 6, 2013, photo, shows an aerial view of the NSA’s Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. The nation’s new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a National Guard base at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The long, squat buildings span 1.5 million square feet, and are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails. (Photo: AP/Rick Bowmer)
- Why Utah?: Lots of water for cooling massive servers, low utility rates, workforce and low potential for extreme weather-related disasters. There’s also room for expansion.
- Energy use: 65 megawatts of electricity continuously
- Water use: up to 17 million gallons a day
An detail aerial view of the NSA’s Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah, Thursday, June 6, 2013. The government is secretly collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order, according to the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Obama administration is defending the National Security Agency’s need to collect such records, but critics are calling it a huge over-reach. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
- Computer capabilities: Cray XC30 Supercomputers will serve the facility, running up to 1 million Intel Xenon core processors at the same time as fast as 100 petaflops. SLT.com described one petaflop as about one thousand trillion calculations per second. This would put the system as three times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer.
- Storage: Estimates come in around the thousands of zettabytes or yottabytes. The military has estimated, as a comparative example, that its entire network storage exceeds exabytes and possibly yottabytes.
A new National Security Agency (NSA) data center is seen June 10, 2013 in Bluffdale, Utah. The center, a large data farm that is set to open in the fall of 2013, will be the largest of several interconnected NSA data centers spread throughout the country. The NSA has come under scutiny after two large scale data survalliance programs were leaked to the press. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)
The facility has a projected completion date of September 2013.
Read more details about the project and how recent leaks about the NSA’s classified information collection program could someday relate to the new facility in the Salt Lake Tribune’s full article.