CERN has a new data center

Designed to boost the LHC computing power, the new data center was inaugurated last month in France

CERN inaugurated a new data center in France at its Prévessin site, completing a significant project for the organization’s computing strategy. The center, covering over 6,000 square meters, houses IT equipment rooms with cooling capacity of 2 MW each. It will host CPU servers for processing physics data, along with a small portion dedicated to business continuity and disaster recovery. CERN’s main data center in Meyrin will still hold the majority of data storage capacity.

The Large Hadron Collider’s experiments at CERN generate around 45 petabytes of data per week, expected to double with the High-Luminosity LHC upgrade. This data is processed through the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, involving approximately 170 data centers in over 40 countries. While Meyrin serves as the Tier 0 core, the Prévessin center provides crucial additional computing capacity.

Constructed in less than two years, the Prévessin center adheres to strict technical standards for environmental sustainability. It features an efficient heat-recovery system, contributing to heating buildings on the site.
Data centers are energy-intensive, constituting about 1.5% of the EU’s total electricity consumption. However, the Prévessin center aims for a low power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1, below the global average of 1.6, and a water usage effectiveness (WUE) of 0.379 liters per kWh, achieved through innovative water recycling.

The cooling system is temperature-triggered, and large fan-walls maintain a maximum temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. The Prévessin center operates under a FIDIC Gold Book contract, ensuring financial sustainability. Over the next ten years, the IT rooms will be gradually equipped with up to 78 racks each, starting from the top floor.