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Region 8 Innovation Saves SSA nearly $100M

Building 94 was an empty warehouse that was transformed to meet the SSA's requirements.
Prior to construction, Building 94 was an empty warehouse that was transformed to meet the Social Security Administration's requirements.

A project completed by GSA’s Region 8 to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with a new data center in Building 94 on the Denver Federal Center has helped that agency save more than $98 million in savings almost automatically.   

The new Electronic Vault, or E-Vault, replaces the use of expensive, bulky and outdated technology of magnetic tape to a cloud-based system that is better suited to handle the SSA’s current operational requirements. Magnetic tape is a 1950’s-era technology that is no longer suitable for daily backups in an enterprise of SSA's size and scale.

“The Social Security Administration previously relied on magnetic tape media stored in 3rd party physical vaults.  Building 94 provides an online, out-of-region, copy of all of their data with the usage of the E-Vault,” said Project Manager Paige Jacques.

Design for the E-Vault originally started in 2014 and in a different building but radioactive rocks adjacent to the proposed site prevented the project from being completed.  The change to an empty warehouse in Building 94 allowed for an updated design at the new location. The new construction is tailored after the Uptime Institute Tier III Classification.

The transformed space includes up to 6
The transformed space includes up to 6,000 usable square feet dedicated to the computer data rooms, plus offices for up to 10 personnel.

Uptime Institute created the standard Tier Classification System as a means to effectively evaluate data center infrastructure in terms of a business’ requirements for system availability, according to their website. The Tier Classification System provides the data center industry with a consistent method to compare typically unique, customized facilities based on expected site infrastructure performance, or uptime. 

A Tier III data center requires no shutdowns for equipment replacement and maintenance. A redundant delivery path for power and cooling is added to the critical aspects in a Tier II ranking so individual components needed to support the IT processing environment can be shut down and maintained without impact on the overall IT operation.

Energy efficiencies were part of the construction as well. Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IDEC) units were installed which are basically "swamp coolers" that utilize outside air with added moisture. Region 8 also was pre-approved by regional energy company Xcel Energy to receive an Energy Efficient Buildings rebate of more than $12 thousand.

Certificate of Occupancy and substantial completion of the project was reached on June 6, 2 days prior to the target date, but full completion is scheduled for August 31.

Energy efficient IDEC units were installed to help maintain proper temperatures within the facility. .
Energy efficient IDEC units were installed to help maintain proper temperatures within the facility. .