Alex Carroll and Rich Banta, owners of Indianapolis-based LifeLine Data Centers, are open to new and big ideas. They had the vision to convert the abandoned 41-acre Eastgate Shopping Mall on the east side of Indianapolis into a mega-sized Tier-4 rated data center and high-tech office complex.
LifeLine serves hundreds of companies in health care, software, utilities, life sciences, cloud computing, and government. When it came time to expand their growing data center, they weighed all the options available for keeping high-density rack systems and processors cool, safe, and operating at peak capacity.
“To be a Tier-4 rated facility we have to assure our customers their data and hardware are secure 24/7, and that means all our components, including piping, have to be the most secure and trustworthy available. LifeLine doesn’t economize on our facilities,” Carroll said.
A Tier-4 data center is considered the most robust of data centers. It is designed to host mission-critical servers and computer systems, with fully redundant cooling, power, network links and storage subsystems, and compartmentalized security zones controlled by biometric access controls. A Tier-4 center guarantees 99.995% availability. Components are fully fault-tolerant, including uplinks, storage, chillers, HVAC systems, and servers. All components are dual-powered.
IT systems are critically sensitive to extreme variations in temperature and humidity, since both can cause failure, degrade performance, and shorten equipment life. Unlike standard comfort cooling systems, precision cooling systems used in data centers require different maintenance, optimization, and design requirements. This includes the type of piping used in the cooling system designed to carry a water/glycol mix from the fan coils to the heat exchangers.
“LifeLine had installed PP-R (polypropylene random copolymers) pipe originally, and it performed well for them,” said Matt Denny, sales representative for ISCO Industries. “As Alex and Rich began planning the expansion of the center, we were able to give them another option with better, long term performance qualities — our PP-RCT polypropylene piping system.”
Both PP-R and ISCO’s PP-RCT product can be fused, creating a seamless, homogenous leak-free joint, according to the company. This is a critical factor in a data center where a leak could be disastrous and expensive.
“This is about as close to a perfect joint as you can get,” said Zak Schultz, ISCO Industries’ polypropylene sales manager. “It delivers a leak-free system with ultimate reliability.”
But unlike typical PP-R, the PP-RCT pipe contains an advanced, high-crystallinity resin. This encapsulated inner layer provides additional strength and reduces thermal expansion up to 70%. Company officials report that this mix of materials produces high temperature and pressure ratings beyond the standard commercially available PPR products.
LifeLine Data Center’s Mark Lincoln supervised and installed the project. Lincoln had worked with PP-R before and was familiar with the fusion process. ISCO’s Matt Denny provided additional training and re-certification on the PP-RCT product.
“Mark was an excellent installer,” said Denny, explaining that the project went smoothly and proved successful under Lincoln’s supervision.
“This pipe is so easy to install. I have created more than 2,000 joints and not one has leaked,” said Lincoln.