IT4Innovations Data Center

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Project Type: Data Center
Owner: Technická Univerzita Ostrava
Contractor: PRONIX
  • BIM Coordination
  • Fabrication
  • Virtual Design & Construction
Pipe Material:
  • Carbon Steel
Pipe Size: 2 – 12” / DN50 -  DN300
Location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • Compressed Construction Schedule
  • Confined Space Installation
  • Cost and Schedule Certainty
  • Ease of Installation

Out to the East of Czech Republic is the city of Ostrava, home to the Technická Univerzita Ostrava. The university has been positioned itself as a vanguard for progress, setting up IT4Innovations, a leading research, development and innovation centre in the field of high-performance computing (HPC), data analysis (HPDA) and artificial intelligence (AI). The centre operates the most powerful supercomputer system in the Czech Republic.

To complete a recent extension to their system’s data centre – originally built in 2015 and previously extended in 2017 – IT4Innovations partnered with non-IT infrastructure integrator PRONIX for a solution which ensured the project’s data centre stayed at the perfect temperature. IT4Innovations currently operates 4 supercomputers: Anselm, in operation since 2013; Solomon, in operation since 2015; and Barbora and NVIDIA DGX-2, both in operation since 2019. All located in the same data hall, covering an area of 500m2 and with a total load capacity of up to 2.5t/m2, representing a huge facility which is increasing in size. Jiri Aulehla, the Head of Design Department, PRONIX said: “Victaulic products were a clear choice for us at PRONIX. We have a time-tested positive experience with these technologies in the IT4Innovations data centre. The great advantage of Victaulic system elements is also easy adjustment and variability in case of need for expansion.”

The extension to the system’s data centre plays a central role as IT4Innovations continues to operate a supercomputer system fit for the future. Before the initiative could put its plans into action, it first had to successfully secure funding – for data centres are not cheaply produced. IT4Innovations applied for funding at both a national and continental level, receiving support from both the Czech Government and the European Union. With sufficient funds in place, IT4Innovations was ready to kickstart their project. At the initial stage of the project Victaulic utilized its Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) team to create a virtual 3D model of the pipework to take to the client. Another challenge to overcome: to produce a cooling solution suitable for the small space afforded by the data centre and executed without the use of a “traditional” construction site. As part of Technická Univerzita Ostrava, and thus situated on the university’s campus, the data hall is surrounded by other university buildings, welcoming hundreds of students into its corridors every day. The result: a site far too small to effectively complete all the construction and installation necessary for the project. To overcome this challenge, PRONIX opted to prefabricate much of the pipework offsite, renting a small hall in the city. The designs, outlined in collaboration between contractor and supplier, required a series of different pipe types, including approximately 160 “ice hockey” pipes – long pieces of piping with a bend towards the bottom so as to resemble the shape of an ice hockey stick – to be joined together, as well as distribution piping in the data room and mechanical room with pipe sizes ranging from DN20 (26.9mm) up to DN200 (219.1mm). All coming together, the system created a path for water to flow through roof installed cooling towers to any part of the data centre which required its cooling effect.

Michal Bek, Eastern Europe Regional Sales Manager, Victaulic, said: “Working with PRONIX on this important data centre project proved extremely successful as we were able to overcome what were considerable challenges for the client. Combining our rigid and flexible grooved couplings was the key to producing a solution for IT4Innovations. We foresee more data centres coming to fruition in the coming years ahead as well as existing centres, such as IT4Innovations, requiring extending. We encourage those planning these projects to take into account the various barriers they will also face when coming up with their team to deliver the project.”


Data centres: the lessons others could learn, Data Centre and Network News

External Links:

Data room for the Ostrava supercomputer, PRONIX

How to Obtain Computational Resources, Technical University of Ostrava