Client Showcase: FKG Group and Pulse Data Centres

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"The Uptime Institute Tier Certification process was collaborative and practical. It allowed our team to demonstrate their many years of data centre experience and an intimate knowledge of the facility and its operation."

"Independent certification is valuable to our clients as an integral part of their due diligence, allowing clients to make quicker decisions and confidently select Pulse DC as their provider."

Peter Blunt
General Manager-Data Centres
Pulse DC

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Overview

Pulse Data Centres is the first major non-metropolitan area data centre in Australia. The Pulse DC facility was designed, constructed and fully equipped by corporate owner, the FKG Group. FKG Group has an impressive forty-year history as a head contractor known for delivering a wide variety of building and engineering projects in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. The privately-owned, diversified company undertakes projects across all sectors for both government and private clients with a broad range of highly technical construction projects like hospitals and Military Defence facilities. Pulse DC is operated by an experienced team of data centre professionals, hand-picked to exceed industry expectations in data centre security, resilience and reliability, setting new standards in customer experience.
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Problem

With their noteworthy position as the first of its kind in Australia, Pulse DC wanted to illustrate the importance of the regional site and what it can do for the area. Pulse DC saw this as an excellent opportunity to validate the data centre design with the world-renowned Uptime Institute and the organisation’s stringent Tier Certification process that ensures that every detail of the Pulse DC design could be recognised as a world class standard.

With a goal to provide clients world-class best practices, design and operations, Pulse DC set out to provide the 3rd party, internationally recognised standard that reduces risk for their high level, demanding clients. Pulse DC set out to achieve the first 2.5MW Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility in a regional Australian location.

On a global scale, Pulse DC is following the trend towards utilizing regional locations enabling the highest standards of capability in a substantially more cost effective and scalable manner. Toowoomba is uniquely located with great climatic conditions, low environmental risks, diverse connectivity, and excellent proximity to Queensland’s capital city with its own international airport. This made it a logical choice to lead the Australian market and also provides a great asset for Queensland that will continue to foster a strong Information and Communication Technology industry.

The primary target market for the data centre is both national and international corporations and government agencies, and as the sole provider of Tier III certified space in Queensland, Pulse DC provides the same suite of services to businesses of all sizes. There is a strong local demand reflecting the community support for the initiative which is a great social benefit not generally seen in metro markets.
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“For us, the rigorous certification process ensured that we have adopted world-class best practices that minimize risks for our clients and help us deliver on our 100% SLA.”
Peter BluntPeter Blunt
General Manager-Data Centres
Pulse DC

Solution

The design review process formed a second QA/Peer Review process for the project. The Uptime Institute consultants conducting the design review showed a great depth of knowledge across all areas of design and quickly zeroed in on areas that are routine traps on projects like insufficient detail, inconsistency in design documentation and equipment manufacturer specifications. Pulse DC was happy to see that the clarifications and further investigations that had been made during the design process were warranted, and the equipment selected was fit for purpose.

The Constructed Facility Certification was a great opportunity for the Pulse DC operations team to demonstrate their detailed knowledge of the systems and facility and also discuss various best practices in facility operation. The Uptime Institute consultants were practical and hands-on, undertaking a process that reflected real life situations that are encountered in the safe operation of a highly resilient facility.

“We found the whole process to be very practical and we were pleased to see the build certification extended into the practicality of how the facility would meet its operational objectives as designed and built,” said Peter Blunt, General Manager - Data Centres for Pulse DC. “The certifiers have the enviable job of conducting in-depth reviews of the world’s latest data centres and their understanding of our systems reflects this. The Uptime Institute team worked in a very collaborative and constructive manner, and we soon felt that they worked as part of our team rather than just checking our work.”

In terms of the design for Toowoomba, Pulse DC is tri-redundant design utilizing static UPS. This design was adopted as it allows for expansion of the capacity in a manner that provides the most efficient deployment of capital. It also meets many of the requirements for Tier IV without the added complexity. The designers at the FKG Group set out to build a data centre that delivers the level of redundancy and resiliency required by clients without exposing the facility to operational risks of the added complexity of other designs. The design capitalizes on the great climatic conditions and delivers a very low PUE without the need for evaporative cooling systems that sacrifice water usage to achieve a lower PUE. Being a Greenfield site with basically unlimited land, Pulse DC was able to design a single level facility that greatly improves accessibility and workflows for their clients.
What’s Next?
Stage one of Pulse DC is 4300m2 with 2.5MW of colocation capacity. It is the first of three planned stages that will eventually expand the facility to 7.5MW. Pulse DC forms the cornerstone of FKG Group’s proposed Technology Precinct, which spans 600 hectares with access to both grid and low cost onsite generated power. Access to an abundance of land is a large benefit as it allows for more large scale purpose built facilities to be constructed on-site in the future, leveraging the security and connectivity infrastructure at the location.
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