October 28, 2016

New data center planned to meet technology demands

Design preparations are underway to support the construction of a new data center following the Board of Governors’ approval authorizing the awarding of contracts for the design phase.

The current facility — located in the northeast campus area at 5925 Woodward Avenue — has been the center for computing operations at Wayne State since 1960, supporting the university’s Computing & Information Technology (C&IT) data center, staff and support services.

Built in 1915, the building has required numerous upgrades in an effort to meet the demands created by newer computing equipment — a challenge that has proven difficult. The improvements were adaptations that still rely on a base infrastructure designed for a different era.

For example, a portion of the roof over the computing room is a wood structure, which creates a concern regarding structural integrity as well as a potential danger for fire. The air conditioning equipment — which was installed in 1996 — is critical in maintaining a proper operating environment for the computing equipment, but it has exceeded its functional life and is no longer supported by the manufacturer.  

The project scope includes the design of a new 10,000-square-foot data center building to be located on the current site of Parking Lot 15, 5986 Cass Avenue. Included in the new facility will be mechanical, security, fire protection, power back-up system and network infrastructure.

“The new data center is an investment by the university to elevate our existing infrastructure to current best practice standards of an energy-efficient, high-performance and secure computing environment,” said Daren Hubbard, chief information officer and associate vice president, C&IT. “Our goal with this new facility is to ensure that Wayne State is able to support the teaching, learning and research computing needs of today and tomorrow. Our current facility has served the campus well and we look forward to the new facility doing the same.”

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