Completion Date



Research Triangle Park, NC




132,000 sf


Copyright Joel Lassiter Photography

Global Dynamic Laboratory 1

O’Brien Atkins designed a 132,000 sf facility to house NetApp’s 36,000 sf dynamic data center which support 2,166 racks of data processing equipment with a designed power load of nearly 25mW.  It expands NetApp’s engineering and development research initiatives to create and improve storage efficiency and cloud-enabling technologies.  The data center allows NetApp to consolidate its engineering facilities into one global dynamic lab (GDL) and provide highly available and redundant infrastructure for NetApp’s IT operations.

Each 52U rack is capable of supporting 12kW of equipment.  The approach to cooling the significant equipment loads has the racks organized in a series of 36 cold rooms and hot aisles with each cold room housing 60 racks.  The air conditioning volume to the racked equipment is controlled based on cold room static pressure.  Following NetApp’s goals for sustainability and reduction of data center power consumption, the HVAC systems are designed to deliver elevated supply air temperatures (74°F instead of 55°F to 60°F) allowing for the use of outside air as the sole cooling medium (free cooling) for up to 67% of the time during the year.

The GDL-1’s Data Center provides a cost effective solution for NetApp:  The construction cost was under $21,000 per rack, and the total investment was under $30,000 per rack.  Based on the data center design, the facility’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) will be 1.2, or 80% more efficient than the average data center PUE of 2.0, which will result in NetApp’s saving $7.3 million a year and reducing CO2 emissions by 93,000 tons each year.