New Oklahoma data center can withstand 310 MPH winds and tornadoes — facility spans 65,000 square feet, promises 100% uptime

Former EdgeX Data Center to be redesigned for multiple clients for various workloads
(Image credit: EdgeX)

Salt Lake City-based server provider Tonaquint is currently recommissioning a 65,000-square-foot data center to survive tornado force winds. The company solutions provider acquired this facility from EdgeX in late 2023 and has been operating data centers in Boise, Idaho and St. George, Utah since 2008.

The new plans will convert the facility from a single-client operation to a multi-client data center. It will be a state-of-the-art facility, positioned for 100% uptime thanks to a structure that can survive tornado-force winds up to 310 miles per hour. It is located near Will Rogers World Airport on four-acres of land. The Tier III data center is 65,000 square feet with two 10,000 square fee data halls. Once the center is fully operational, it will initially deploy a 2.5 MW of critical IT workload, with the ability to expand up to 12 MW.

“This state-of-the-art facility will be well-prepared for the demands of new clients and the increasing capacity requirements of AI workloads,” The COO and CTO of Tonaquint Terry Morrison said via a press release. “These enhancements further position this facility as one of the region’s most future-forward and resilient data centers.”

The former EdgeX facility is located in Tornado Alley where 74 twisters occurred in 2023 and was just 25 miles away from the speediest tornado reported, with wind speeds up to 302 miles per hour. This data center will offer cloud co-location, backup, disaster recovery and network-as-a-service solutions to many organizations in the Mountain West and Southwest regions. The company also plans to make this facility ready for any AI workloads. Tonaqunit wants this data center to achieve 100% uptime despite being in a tornado region.

Currently, the company has begun redesigning the center and already started taking orders for an April delivery date. Having a data center with 100% uptime while located in a tornado-prone area is a serious undertaking,  but one which could also be seen as a key selling point in the region. But that will be determined once the redesign is complete and official certification is received. 

Freelance News Writer
  • PEnns
    "The former EdgeX facility is located in Tornado Alley where 74 twisters occurred in 2023 and was just 25 miles away from the speediest tornado reported, with wind speeds up to 302 miles per hour."

    Is it really a smart move to have such a center in Tornado Alley? Given, the structure will be "tornado proof". But what about the employees' (operators, management, maintenance, etc) and their housing, transportation, public infrastructure, and such?

    I hope they included those scenarios and factored them in their "100% uptime" dream.
    Reply
  • mmhhectt
    Hopefully no offense to any friends in OK, none intended. But yeah, isn't that tempting fate, like a dare to Mother Nature? I guess maybe it is human nature to challenge Mother Nature and try to win. But from a purely financial perspective, one must wonder whether it would cost far less to have such a data center in a location far less prone to the wrath of the sky.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    PEnns said:
    Is it really a smart move to have such a center in Tornado Alley?
    It's a pretty huge geographical area. It already has lots of industry (much of it agriculture-related). If the building is truly capable of withstanding a direct hit, then I see no reason not to locate there.

    I was just hoping the article would give the main details of how they're fortifying it. I'd expect putting it underground would be the way to go, but could you do that with an existing datacenter?

    I also wonder what sort of cooling system is tornado-proof.

    PEnns said:
    Given, the structure will be "tornado proof". But what about the employees' (operators, management, maintenance, etc)
    Most of them probably already live in the area. It doesn't take very many employees to run a datacenter, from what I understand. Especially a multi-tenant one.

    PEnns said:
    and their housing, transportation, public infrastructure, and such?

    I hope they included those scenarios and factored them in their "100% uptime" dream.
    Okay, so just have a little more redundancy among your staff. Out in "the sticks", it's not as if most people rely on public transportation, but you have a point that staffing could be temporarily disrupted by such weather events.

    mmhhectt said:
    isn't that tempting fate, like a dare to Mother Nature?
    No. It's such a big area that the odds are still pretty low. Lots of people live and work there, yet the death rate is still probably lower than from most other natural disasters.
    https://inside.nssl.noaa.gov/nsslnews/2009/03/us-annual-tornado-death-tolls-1875-present/
    For reference, lightning kills (slightly) more people:
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/victimdata/infographic.html
    I can think of worse places to put it, from a climatological point of view.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Hurricanes, blizzards, forest fires, floods, tornados...everywhere has some critically bad weather once in a while.
    Reply
  • kanewolf
    PEnns said:
    Is it really a smart move to have such a center in Tornado Alley? Given, the structure will be "tornado proof". But what about the employees' (operators, management, maintenance, etc) and their housing, transportation, public infrastructure, and such?
    I got to tour a Cisco data center in the Dallas area (lots of bad weather here also). They had built large berms around the data center so that even if a tornado approached, it would hit the berms and bounce over (that was the explanation). The data center had large on-site water storage and an on-site well so that cooling was self sufficient. This facility used flywheel UPS with diesel backup -- https://www.power-solutions.com/ups/mtu-drups-diesel-rotary-ups/ They had 6 or 8 of these.
    Reply
  • HopefulToad
    I have one strict rule regarding location when choosing a place to live: no tornadoes. Uh-uh.

    USAFRet said:
    Hurricanes, blizzards, forest fires, floods, tornados...everywhere has some critically bad weather once in a while.
    Not necessarily. I grew up near Sacramento, CA and never once experienced any natural disaster or critically bad weather. Granted, there was a dam nearby so catastrophic flooding was a possibility, though a very remote one, and it never happened.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    HopefulToad said:
    I have one strict rule regarding location when choosing a place to live: no tornadoes. Uh-uh.


    Not necessarily. I grew up near Sacramento, CA and never once experienced any natural disaster or critically bad weather. Granted, there was a dam nearby so catastrophic flooding was a possibility, though a very remote one, and it never happened.
    "Sacramento's risk of flooding is the greatest of any major city in the country . . ."
    "The most notable flooding occurred in 1986, 1995, 1997, 2006, and 2017."

    https://waterresources.saccounty.gov/stormready/Pages/Region%27s-Flooding-History.aspx
    (along with California level salaries, etc)
    Reply
  • kanewolf
    HopefulToad said:
    I have one strict rule regarding location when choosing a place to live: no tornadoes. Uh-uh.


    Not necessarily. I grew up near Sacramento, CA and never once experienced any natural disaster or critically bad weather. Granted, there was a dam nearby so catastrophic flooding was a possibility, though a very remote one, and it never happened.
    And "just" $20,000 / sqft to build !!!
    Reply
  • HopefulToad
    USAFRet said:
    "Sacramento's risk of flooding is the greatest of any major city in the country . . ."
    "The most notable flooding occurred in 1986, 1995, 1997, 2006, and 2017."

    https://waterresources.saccounty.gov/stormready/Pages/Region's-Flooding-History.aspx
    (along with California level salaries, etc)
    I lived in the area (nearby, not in the city itself) full-time from 1999 to 2011. I don't remember ever being affected by flooding.

    kanewolf said:
    And "just" $20,000 / sqft to build !!!
    Hey, I didn't say it had no downsides. Just that the area where I grew up was pretty free of natural disasters. That would fall under something like "economical disaster."
    Reply
  • bit_user
    HopefulToad said:
    I grew up near Sacramento, CA and never once experienced any natural disaster or critically bad weather.
    It's a good thing you got out before the wildfires.
    https://riskfactor.com/city/sacramento-ca/664000_fsid/fire
    Reply