Michigan State University Opens New Data Center and Broadcasts New IT Strategy
by Josh Anderson
EAST LANSING, MI — Michigan State University Interim President John Engler announced a campus-wide IT strategy during a ribbon cutting ceremony for MSU’s new data center, that amplifies the university’s commitment to providing leading-edge, functional and efficient IT infrastructure, support and services necessary to carry out MSU’s mission of teaching, learning, research and outreach in the digital era.
Engler said, “Currently, more than 60 IT groups operate on campus. Our new approach will create a central leadership and operating structure to position IT to deliver services better and promote more rapid applications-development across the campus. MSU’s status as a leading global research university requires that we develop a world-class technology infrastructure system that supports our research. We will do this while maintaining full compliance with federal obligations and special research needs.”
The new data center will allow the university to imagine and support digital learning, outreach, engagement and research by serving as a tier-1 connected hub for academic units across campus while also providing connectivity to research networks around the world. In addition, this new data center has the capacity to spur economic development by providing opportunities to collaborate with other university and business partners locally and beyond.
In September 2016 construction began and the data center was completed in 15 months, almost four months ahead of schedule. Departments across the university collaboratively submitted input to aid in designing the 25,000-square-foot MSU Data Center. Savings annually are estimated to be around $600,000 USD through this consolidation of three university enterprise data centers.
Server storage and overhead costs for departments and the university will be optimized thanks to co-location, while highly redundant scalable secure storage including automatic backups has created a shared file space that allows faculty, staff and students to access their data from any computer or device. Technology that makes one server appear to mimic multiple servers running at one time has been utilized through a virtual server which is more efficient in server capacity, hardware and energy usage. In addition, the data center’s climate is controlled with indirect air-side economization cooling technology. These IT rack electronic controllers respond to climate-related alerts for hot spots, excessive temperatures and other conditions exceeding system thresholds.
MSU Chief Information Officer, Rob McCurdy, said, “Having the right tools to deliver leading technology is key to the success of our information technology system, and more importantly, to the success of our students, faculty and staff that we serve every day.”