Data Center POST interview with Steve Delo, Director of Facilities Engineering, New Continuum
By Contributing Editor Michael Egan
Steve Delo is the Director of Facilities Engineering for New Continuum, a multi-tenant data center operator in the western Chicago suburbs. Steve brings over 15 years of experience with data center systems and operations to his role at New Continuum, where he is responsible for all electrical, mechanical, cooling and fire suppression systems for the company’s facility (West Chicago NAP). In the past, Steve has provided his deep expertise to support numerous mission critical facilities and operations, including fortune 500 companies, international engineering businesses and even fighter squadrons aboard US Navy aircraft carriers. Steve is also a Certified Data Center Design Professional (CDCDP).
Data Center POST recently sat down with Steve to discuss what sets New Continuum apart, how their processes keep their facilities running smoothly and what makes the world of data centers so rewarding.
Data Center POST, Michael Egan (DCP-ME) Question: Can you offer a high-level explanation of the cooling process that New Continuum leverages in its data center?
New Continuum, Steve Delo (NC-SD) Answer: Our data center in the Chicago suburbs, which we call West Chicago NAP, uses a 50,000 gallon closed chilled water loop for heat extraction. The chilled water is pumped into heat extractors (or coolers) on the data center floor that are strategically positioned in the same row as the server racks. This is where we remove the heat from the hot aisles and send it back to the cooling plant to be removed and cooled. The water itself is cooled by several different methods depending on outdoor air temperature. In the warmer months we use 700-ton chillers. In the winter months we use a combination of evaporative cooling towers and heat exchangers. For those months that are in between, we use a combination of the above to achieve the most efficient cooling process possible.
DCP-ME Q: What, in your opinion, makes New Continuum unique or interesting?
NC-SD A: Our facility was specifically designed from the ground up as a data center. Traditionally, many colocation facilities were just empty commercial warehouses and retail buildings that were repurposed as a data center. These conversions will almost always lack critical elements of data center design. This means greater risk. As a purpose-built facility, we reduce that risk from the beginning by starting with the location — we’re specifically situated away from floodplains, fault lines, major airport flight paths, etc. Our building was designed to withstand severe weather as well. Our facility contains a very robust and resilient infrastructure that was designed to minimize risk, increase reliability, and provide security and redundancy from the beginning. For example, we are able to maintain business continuity without electric or water services for long periods of time. This provides peace of mind and allows our customers to focus on running their business.
DCP-ME Q: What is the most engaging part of your job as Director of Facilities Engineering at New Continuum?
NC-SD A: The challenge, of course! Operating a world-class data center at a high level is extremely challenging and requires a combination of many different skill sets. Our team is committed to providing world-class services to all of our customers, regardless of size. Our customers have many different requirements, and as a team I feel we are constantly challenged not only to provide 100 percent reliability but also to ensure that we can remain flexible in meeting our customers’ requirements. This mission requires custom solutions and the ability to be creative, as well as an attention to detail that is second to none.
DCP-ME Q: If you had to compare New Continuum’s facility to a car, what car would it be and why?
NC-SD A: Nice question! The first thing that comes to my mind is the Presidential limo. It is built to be state-of-the-art, reliable, nimble, adaptable, resilient, secure, safe and comfortable. I’ve been in quite a few data centers in my career. Very few are designed, operated and built this well, and I’m proud to be a part of the team that operates and manages our facility.
DCP-ME Q: Thanks so much for your time, Steve. To learn more about New Continuum and its data center and connectivity solutions serving the Chicago-land market, please visit www.newcontinuum.net.