Data Center West


Advanced computing for OHSU's future

It looks like a UFO that somehow landed on the fringes of OHSU's West Campus. It isn't.

It instead is OHSU's technology future. The geodesic dome rising on OHSU's West Campus in Hillsboro is a state-of-the-art data center that will provide for OHSU's computing needs for a decade or more to come. It also will help lead OHSU scientists, clinicians and researchers into a pioneering era of "big data"—where cutting edge technology will help gather and analyze enormous amounts of biomedical data to better understand and cure disease.

The new OHSU data center—affectionately called Data Dome—is scheduled to begin operations in July. It will be connected to and operate in parallel with OHSU’s existing data center in downtown Portland.



Designed for Sustainability

Its one-of-a-kind design was conceived and created by Perry Gliessman, Director of Technology Services for OHSU’s Information Technology Group (ITG). The unique design provides a high-security, high-capacity, high-efficiency computing facility with one of the best power utilization efficiencies in the country. This means the center will use about half of the electricity of a data center with a more traditional design. Leveraging ambient air cooling, a unique air-flow design and airflow dynamics, this is all accomplished without any of the air conditioning, air ducts, heating systems or exhaust fans found in a traditional data center. The geodesic design also provides superior resistance to seismic events and is designed to shed snow or volcanic ash accumulations.

The new 18,000-square-foot data center contains 10 mini data centers called “pods” arranged in a wheel and spoke configuration with a central hub. It will have ten times the capacity of the existing downtown facility. At full capacity it could, for example, house thousands of data servers (computers) along with 100 petabytes of data (one petabyte is one million gigabytes).

Built for Growth

Data Center West will:

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  • provide a secondary data location, in addition to OHSU's current location in downtown Portland, which will have dedicated hardware running part of the OHSU active data system. That means this data center will be able to assume OHSU's computing needs in the event of an earthquake or other disaster that could affect OHSU's downtown system. With Data Center West, OHSU will better be able to respond to the healthcare needs of Oregonians impacted by such an event.
  • have initial power capacity of 700 kilowatts (the average residential house uses about 1.3 kilowatts) when it begins operations. In addition, Data Center West has been designed with growth in mind, composed of modular pods which will allow OHSU to easily add racks of computer servers and data storage to accommodate future expansion and technological innovation. The center will eventually be able to provide 3.8 Mw of computing power—more than 10 times OHSU's current system.
  • be home to the OHSU Advanced Computing Center, which provides custom computing solutions for OHSU researchers and collaboration facilities for partners such as Intel. This platform opens the door for OHSU to provide massive computing and storage capabilities for “big data” programs that are being driven by clinical research, genomics and advanced medical imaging.

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