Enhanced Capabilities Designed to Better Position University for Increased Research Funding, Recruitment and Public-Private Partnerships
ALBANY, N.Y. () -- The University at Albany inaugurated a new advanced-capacity Information Technology (IT) building and Data Center, housing the equipment and systems to support the computing, research, information, storage, and telecommunications services for the University.
The new IT building and Data Center will provide faster, more efficient computing, improved network capability, and IT applications for the 23,000-plus UAlbany students, faculty and staff. The facility’s services will range from student registration, library systems, and online learning, to research by the RNA Institute and others. Its enhanced capacities will also support key UAlbany initiatives such as the NYSUNY 2020-driven Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (E-TEC) and the expansion of new academic programs in high-needs fields including computer engineering and big data analytics.
"The new IT Data Center is key to advancing the University at Albany's research enterprise," said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones. "By enhancing the University's computing capacity, we can further develop our innovative academic and research programs in big data management, digital forensics, biomedical sciences, and the work of our renowned weather and climate science faculty."
"This state-of-the-art facility will be one of the most efficient, innovative, and secure data centers operated by public higher education,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “It is also a major contributor to the success of SUNY’s system-wide shared services initiative, accommodating data from Hudson Valley Community College and SUNY Empire State College in addition to the University at Albany. As the capacity of the center continues to grow, it has the potential to be an even greater asset to SUNY and to New York State."
Hudson Valley and UAlbany became the first two of SUNY's campuses to share IT facilities, a collaboration that won a SUNY Award for Systemness Innovation in October 2013. The new IT building's Data Center will serve as the primary facility for SUNY's Empire State College beginning later this year.
The new IT building, on the western end of the campus, sits in an original 1960s repurposed grounds building that was refurbished with $29.3 million in capital funds. The building increases the campus's green footprint with its LEED Silver-certification, and has received Tier III design certification from the Uptime Institute, the certification authority for the enterprise data center industry.
“Our new state-of-the-art facility will support the expanding research, academic and business needs of the campus community,” said UAlbany Chief Information Officer Christine Haile. “It marks a turning point in the University’s capacity to grow strategically, both now and well into the future.”
Initially, the IT building's Data Center will house hundreds of physical and virtual machines and more than 600 TB of storage. In-house hardware includes sophisticated systems for power and building systems management, two 1,000KW generators, and advanced cooling and fire suppression systems. As a Tier III facility, any building component can be taken offline for maintenance without affecting the University's computing or network availability.
Some 5,400 square feet of raised floor area and more than 16,000 square feet dedicated to office space will house 50 ITS staff. The IT building will start out with 110 server racks with the goal of the design capacity of 158 racks. Three levels of security access control all monitoring functions.
In addition, the completion of the IT building adds a chill plant and generator, shared by the campus plant, to serve dorms and podium. The IT building move also returns the old Data Center space to the campus for alternate use in facilities and building projects. The new IT building represents adaptive repurposing of an aging campus building, and creates an attractive anchor for west campus entry.