The University and University Information Technology Services (ITS) are embarking on a two-phase project to upgrade power distribution to the Data Center in the Edward V. Gant Science Complex.
The $4 million project, now in the design phase, is aimed at improving the efficiency and integrity of the system that keeps the University’s central computer servers running.
The existing infrastructure – power distribution and related mechanical equipment – are 10 to 40 years old, according to engineers with Integrated Design Group, an architecture, engineering, and planning firm that has been contracted to design the project.
“This project will address critical needs of the Data Center,” said RC Teal, Assistant Director, ITS Infrastructure, such as replacing the aging uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Teal says the new UPS configuration will provide a redundant reliable source of power during campus outage events.
An important step in updating the data center is to move electrical and data cabling from beneath the Data Center floor to an overhead cable tray system. This will significantly reduce the risks associated with an under floor flooding event, as well as greatly increasing air flow to keep servers from overheating.
The project is also focused on removing water from the server room. “Our recommendation is to replace the water based sprinkler system with a clean-agent fire suppression system and thereby removing water from the Data Center entirely,” says Teal. Clean-agent fire suppression uses gases to extinguish fire without damaging equipment. The compressed gases are stored in canisters and delivered by a network of pipes.
The upgrade project includes architectural, mechanical, electrical, and fire protection components. Highlights of the work are as follows:
Phase 1 – installation of a new 300+ kilowatt UPS with provisions for two additional units; and adding two computer room air conditioning units;
Phase 2 – installation of a backup power source; replacement of the sprinkler system with a clean agent fire suppression system; installation of overhead cabling.
The project will result in a stable, monitored, and redundant power source for the Data Center, with the ability to expand service offerings.