Because Northern Virginia has the honor of being one of the very early internet peering location, it’s no surprise that the landscape is dotted with vintage data centers dating back to the Y2K era and before. Some of those older data centers are still in operation. Given the dramatic evolutionary improvements in data center design over the last 20 years, there are a number of legacy sites that have reached their end-of-life. The unfortunate fact is, a twenty-year-old facility is not well-suited for today’s high-density IT Infrastructure.
For one of these locations, Compu Dynamics was hired to decommission a 20,000 SF colocation data center built originally to enable peering of CLECs and other telecom carriers in the late 1990’s. By 2019, the data center operator had relocated to a modern facility and the landlord was ready to repurpose the space back to office-ready shell condition.
The Client and the Challenge
Compu Dynamics’ client, the colocation operator and early cloud provider, was obligated to bring the space back to its original pre-lease condition. Having built hundreds of data centers, we knew that this would take a significant amount of effort. This particular decom project was especially challenging because the scope included removal of rooftop equipment, removal of an exterior masonry generator enclosure, rigging equipment through an upper story window, decommissioning of electrical service, and basically, removing every trace that a data center once inhabited the premises.
As we progressed through the project, new challenges emerged in a number of unforeseeable ways. Existing conditions were not always as expected, power systems were found to be intertwined with neighboring tenants, the local permitting requirements turned out to be shockingly complex. Nevertheless, our team continued with care and discipline through the process, keeping safety in mind 100% of the time.
Anyone who has ever retrofitted commercial office space to serve as a data center knows that it isn’t easy. It can be equally complex to remove every trace of a data center without negatively impacting neighbors above and below. Not only did we succeed with our decommissioning effort, but we gained a large enterprise data center user on the first floor as a new client shortly after the work was completed.
Compu Dynamics’ expertise with turnkey design-build services for complex construction and deconstruction projects was up to the task. We handled the work and managed our relationship from beginning to end with professionalism. In addition to transforming an outdated data center into “like new” office space, we were also able to provide additional value to our client by reselling decommissioned equipment, installing a new sprinkler and fire alarm system, and re-building the base building HVAC system.