West Virginia-based Alpha Federal has been awarded a contract to deliver data center services to the US Geological Survey agency.

The contract has a total estimated value of up to $20 million over a five year period, including a one-year base period and four one-year options.

Alpha Technology
– Alpha Technology

The contract will see Alpha Federal, part of Alpha Technologies, deliver Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings.

The agency will be hosted out of Alpha's single DC1 data center, located 15 minutes from Yeager International Airport, Charleston.

A former Union Carbide data center, the 79,700 square foot (7,400 sq m) site at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park was acquired by Alpha in 2012.

The facility has redundant commercial power feeds, dual battery backup banks, and multiple megawatt backup diesel generators.

The service-disabled veteran-owned small business has several government hosting contracts, and is one of a number of smaller data center companies hoping to benefit from US federal data center consolidation initiatives.

Tasked with understanding the landscape of the US, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the United States Department of the Interior, which is currently reducing its data center footprint under the Data Center Optimization Initiative.

Eros Data Center

USGS is also home to one of the oldest data centers, EROS. In the 1960s, the US government realized it needed to build a site to handle all of the data coming from the Landsat satellite program, and chose a location where it could receive transmissions directly from a satellite passing over any part of the contiguous United States, settling on South Dakota.

The facility opened in 1973, and a version of it still operates today. Documents from 1971 show that the data center was originally built for an IBM 360/165.

In a letter at the time, USGS discuss a recommendation to use carpeting in the data center. "Eicher checked with personnel who have had carpeting in a computer center for some four or five years and their experience has been that it is not desirable," Glenn H. Landis said.

"They have not had problems with the carpeting per se interfering with the computer operations but that the carpet cleaning equipment was very definitely a source of problems."