Information Technology Launches New Data Center

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As part of the UMass Data Center Optimization project, UMass Amherst has launched its first new Data Center since 1968.

“Higher education data center launches only occur once in decades because they are very complex due to the need to move hundreds of services and systems with minimal impact to users,” said Julie Buehler, vice chancellor for information services and strategy and chief information officer. “The new Data Center is designed for the future with a modular build capability to be expanded as the need arises. It provides a faster, more robust, and energy-efficient infrastructure, more storage capacity and a higher level of reliability for the increasing technology needs of our faculty, students and staff.”

The Data Center is the “technical heartbeat” of the campus. The student record system (SPIRE), the campus website, email and calendaring services and many other critical services are hosted in the Data Center. It uses a hybrid design for efficiency and speed, with some systems on site and some in the cloud.

The new 6,200-square-foot facility boasts virtual servers five times faster than the previous center, with five times more memory, storage capabilities six time larger and network connectivity 100 times faster. The approximately $12 million data center project, including both construction and equipment start-up costs, was completed on time, in scope and on budget.

The next phases of development will add backup support for the Office of the President and the other campuses within the university system.

The Data Center Optimization project is a system-wide initiative seeking to optimize the use of technology resources across the five campuses and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the university’s operations.

The new Data Center is the culmination of a major collaborative effort among academic and administrative departments at UMass Amherst. Faculty and researchers helped design the center to accommodate expanding research needs and to meet modern standards of sustainability.