Menu
NSA data center suffers 'meltdowns,' is delayed by a year, report says

NSA data center suffers 'meltdowns,' is delayed by a year, report says

The giant Utah facility has been dogged by electrical problems, a report says

A massive data center being built by the National Security Agency in Utah has been plagued by "chronic electrical surges" that have destroyed equipment and delayed its opening for a year, according to a report Monday.

The facility has suffered 10 "meltdowns" in the past 13 months that destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of machinery, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing project documents and unnamed officials.

The data center is expected to be the NSA's main facility for storing, decrypting and analyzing the vast amounts of data it collects through its surveillance programs. Those programs have been under scrutiny since the disclosures about Prism and other data collection efforts earlier this year.

The data center has cost a reported US$1.4 billion excluding the computing equipment inside, and covers more than a million square feet.

Data centers can consume huge amounts of power, partly for the compute gear but also for cooling equipment that keeps the computers from overheating.

The NSA facility, located 30 miles south of Salt Lake City in a town called Bluffdale, continuously uses 65 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power a small city -- at a cost of more than $1 million a month, the Journal reported.

The electrical problems, known as arc fault failures, create "fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail," one official told the newspaper.

"Documents and interviews paint a picture of a project that cut corners to speed building," the Journal said. Backup generators have failed several times and the cooling system has yet to be tested, according to the newspaper.

An NSA spokeswoman told the Journal that "the failures that occurred during testing have been mitigated." But the Journal said there is disagreement about the cause of the problems and whether proposed fixes will work.

The NSA planned to turn on some of the computers at the facility this week, the Journal reported.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentservershardware systemsNational Security Agency

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments