Bluebird Network has expanded and upgraded a bunker-based data center in Missouri it bought last year. 

Last year, Bluebird acquired SpringNet’s underground data center and quickly got to work on expanding the facility, now known as Bluebird Underground, with the help of some Missouri tax breaks. Now, the 16,000 square foot expansion is complete, bringing the total usable, rentable space to 30,000 sq ft (2,800 sq m)

Bluebird Network Underground Data Center
– Bluebird Network

In the cold, cold ground

The data center, nestled 85 feet below the surface in a limestone mine, was expanded in three phases by Schneider Electric’s data center service provider team. Bluebird upgraded the building management system integration services, and used Schneider’s Uniflair cooling and RPP (remote power panel) modular power system. The site remained operational.

“The acquisition and expansion of the underground data center [will] result in major opportunities to grow the Bluebird business and bring economic growth to the local community in southwest Missouri,” said Jeff Holland, director of design services at Schneider Electric.

Underground data centers have unique requirements, compared with traditional buildings above ground, and required an “innovative and holistic” approach, said Holland.

To manage the facility, Bluebird kept on Todd Murren, who had been on the SpringNet management team for 13 years since the underground data center’s inception.

Murren mentions challenges such as the mine’s irregular surfaces, and the lack of GPS location, in a Schneider video, but says the drawbacks are outweighed by the benefits: “The thing most above-ground data centers have no control over is the weather - their natural and unnatural environment. Here, that’s not a concern.”