MKK Consulting Engineers, Inc. (MKK) recently wrapped up design of Ptolemy Data Systems data center in Sheridan, Wyoming. The project is a secured data storage facility and is the first structure and high-tech anchor in what owners hope will become a full data park.

The facility is a structurally secured building: the data room is contained within a concrete vault, there is a biometric entry system, and a full agent-release fire suppression system (as a rule, MKK specifies Encro25 for the fire suppression system as it is an environmentally friendly gas). The 1,100 SF data center has a full generator back-up which supports a UPS distribution system and a state-of-the-art APC in-row cooling system. A second generator supports a call center, office, and life safety (fire alarm and lighting). Greg Gedney, MKK’s project manager for this facility, commented on the collaboration that went into the project: “This team uniquely blended technology, form, and architecture to create an outstanding project.”

The project has been a great success. Ryan Mulholland, President & CEO of Ptolemy Data Systems stated, “MKK was excellent to work with and I will absolutely use them for our next phase of construction. I only wish I would have consulted with MKK earlier than I did.”

Mission critical facilities differ from most standard commercial projects which are constructed and designed to meet the requirements of applicable building codes. Mission critical facilities, on the other hand, typically entail much more extensive owner expectations which often far exceed building code requirements. This is due to preferred levels of reliability, efficiency, and system redundancy.

A main necessity of a mission critical project is enhanced reliability that covers the entire system down to each individual component of the mission critical facility. One of the challenges is to design a facility anticipating all possible scenarios that can affect system performance and operation. The cost of system downtime is potentially huge compared to the cost of preventing a failure; this necessitates redundancy and complexity that is not usually encountered on other projects.

In the past three years alone, MKK has worked on over 60 mission critical projects. These include data centers and facilities in the telecommunications industry where equipment operation is a crucial aspect of their business process, as well as with clients whose 24/7 operations and data storage is critical, such as in the industrial and healthcare industries