Media Contacts

Ryann Rasmussen

Public Relations Specialist, Public Affairs
Phone: 801-581-3102

Apr 09, 2012 4:24 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah IT officials welcomed guests today to celebrate completion of the first phase of the U’s new, highly sophisticated computing and data storage facility. By stage three of the entire project, which was designed specifically to support future expansion, it is estimated that the Data Center will be a 10-million watt facility dedicated to preserving information from all corners of campus.   

“The new UIT Data Center is a major step forward for the entire University,” says Jim Livingston, director of UIT Infrastructure and Strategic Management and associate chief information officer for U of U Health Sciences. “We approached this project with all University disciplines in mind to ensure we could meet cost, scheduling, and operating requirements. It was truly a collaborative, campus-wide effort.”

 The UIT Data Center is a 74,000-square foot facility intended to house data from nearly all campus entities, including Human Resources, U of U Health Care and Health Sciences, and the various academic departments. UIT officials say this project was a big undertaking to address the University’s inadequate existing facilities and growing demand for diverse computing and data storage capacity. The University’s total investment for the Data Center was approximately $23 million, nearly half of the initial budget estimates and one-third of the cost of similar data centers with less capability. Construction was anticipated to wrap up this summer, but instead the project was finished ahead of schedule.  

 In addition to saving time and money, the new UIT Data Center is also energy efficient. Prior to its opening, the University stored information at seven different data centers. By consolidating resources and energy costs into a single location, the new Data Center will increase energy efficiency. The building, which is a repurposed bottling plant, also supports the U’s green campus initiatives with LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) Gold certifications from the United States Green Building Council. The building is designed for 83 percent energy efficiency instead of 50 percent efficiency, the current industry standard. 

 The facility includes space for a highly advanced heating and cooling system, dozens of “pods” (15 racks in two rows = 1 pod) for computing equipment, hard-copy medical records storage, an equipment yard, and ample room for future growth. The building has also been seismically retrofitted to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and can operate independently for 72 hours in the event of a power outage. For privacy reasons, security at the Data Center has been deemed a priority with 24/7 monitoring presence, cameras, a man trap at the entrance to ensure proper visitor credentials, and a biometric identification system for employees.