It was right before the end of the dot-com boom when John Hummel, CIO and senior VP of information systems at Sutter, began searching for a 10,000-square-foot data center in an area of Northern California that didn't have the potential for floods, earthquakes, or riots. "We were looking at spending in excess of $10 million to get what we needed," he says. Hummel was prepared to slice his IT operations to the bare minimum in order to foot the bill.
But then came the dot-com collapse, and Hummel found the deal of a lifetime. He had been talking with a startup that had been funded by several large vendors looking to capitalize on the Internet boom by building 50 data centers with every possible amenity that money could buy. The group had built a 25,000-square-foot demo data center with such features as Kevlar-lined walls to protect the building from bombs or assault weapons and a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system that "can change every molecule of air in less than 10 seconds," Hummel says.
For security, the building is equipped with a biometric system that displays entrants' pictures, fingerprints, and badges as they enter any one of the timed doors that allow only 30 seconds for entry. A digital-camera system records every square inch of the facility and stores 45 days of digital pictures from 132 cameras, inside and out.
The data center's worth about $30 million, Hummel says. But its builders were desperate to make a deal, so Sutter bought it for a mere $8 million, including all equipment, racks, generators, and land. "We have to prioritize capital spending, and it's a sign of the importance Sutter places on IT when they invest in this type of building."