Power Profile - SAS Data Center

Power Need

Established in 1976, SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster.

Customers in 126 countries — including 90 of the top 100 FORTUNE Global 500® companies — rely on SAS for business analytics software solutions designed to meet specific business requirements. SAS provides innovative, world-class solutions tailor-made for almost every industry, including automotive, education, financial services, government, health care, life sciences, manufacturing, media, retail and telecommunications.

As the nerve center for the company’s global operations, SAS headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, USA, requires reliable power for the computer, networking and phone systems essential to ongoing software development, technical support, sales and other business operations.

This need is evident in the rapidly expanding line of SAS® Solutions OnDemand, which hosts offerings for marketing automation, academic research, social media analytics, anti-money laundering, drug development and other cross-industry and vertical industry purposes.

To meet growing demand for these solutions, SAS opened a new 38,000-square-foot (3,500-square-meter) cloud computing facility in 2010 that was designed to accommodate hosting software and two 10,000-square-foot (900-square-meter) server farms while also meeting LEED standards for water and energy conservation.customer data used by more than 100 corporate clients around the globe, this facility requires reliable power around the clock, every day of the year.

Solution

Starting with a Cat® 3512 diesel generator set installed in 1986, SAS has purchased 17 Cat® generator sets ranging in output from 150 to 1825 kW to satisfy the company’s ever-growing appetite for standby power.

“In the early ‘80s, our company was at the end of the utility distribution line, and we would experience three to six interruptions a day,” said Steve Spooner, operations engineer for SAS. “Early on, we recognized that reliable standby power was critical in supporting our customers and our plans for growth.”

SAS headquarters has grown to include more than 20 buildings for over 4,600 employees, and Cat® diesel generator sets have been chosen time after time to supply standby power for every building that serves a critical business function. For example, the new cloud computing facility is protected by Cat® 3512C and 3516C generator sets as well as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and switchgear to ensure a continuous flow of quality power.

Cat® standby power solutions were also selected for a new 287,000-square-foot (27,000-square-meter) Executive Briefing Center and office tower, which was also built to LEED standards for water and energy conservation and recently achieved LEED Platinum Certification, the highest level possible. Opened in the spring of 2011, the Executive Briefing Center includes specifications that reduce water use by 50 percent and energy consumption by at least 40 percent.

Results

Through hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and other interruptions over the past 25 years, Cat® power systems have kept the lights on at SAS headquarters. In 1996, Hurricane Fran knocked out utilities to area homes for the better part of a week, but SAS was running on backup power and was even able to offer emergency housing for employees and their families.

“Thanks to our preventive maintenance program and ongoing support from the local Cat® Dealer, Gregory Poole, the generator sets provided power to campus buildings until utility power was restored,” Spooner recalled. “In fact, we needed a part in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and a Gregory Poole technician was available to help us right away. This allowed us to keep our data centers online during the extended power outage.”

SAS follows the rigorous maintenance schedule recommended by Caterpillar. Members of the company’s operations engineering staff inspect the power equipment on a frequent basis, while technicians from Gregory Poole supply a full range of services from basic preventive maintenance to overhauls.

“SAS maps out a three-year calendar for ongoing maintenance on their power equipment, and they have one of the best internal inspection and maintenance programs I have ever seen,” said Ron Wheeler, product support account manager for Gregory Poole. “We have very few service calls and repairs at SAS because they strictly follow maintenance guidelines outlined by Caterpillar and take care of their equipment like they’re supposed to.”

As SAS has expanded its offerings, Cat® power systems play a key role in making these solutions available to customers around the clock and around the world.

“SAS® Solutions OnDemand play a critical role in research performed in the life sciences and, if our systems go down, analytical teams grind to a stop. That means not only idled workers and increased operating costs, but delays in getting new treatments to patients, and that can’t happen,” said David Handelsman, senior manager of the Center for Health Analytics and Insights at SAS. “Even though the entire community may lose power, our computing facility here remains operational to contribute to the success of our customers."

According to Jerry Williams, program manager at SAS for environmental sustainability, Caterpillar supports the company’s new building construction with dependable power solutions that make it possible to pursue green initiatives.

“Sound business practices and a solid infrastructure provide the springboard for SAS to adopt aggressive, company-wide environmental programs, which included the design and construction of our new Executive Briefing Center,” Williams observed. “Cat® standby integrated power solutions mitigate company risk and play a critical role in allowing SAS to implement a wide range of environmentally responsible practices and technologies.”