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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009

$32.7 million IU Data Center to be unveiled; anchor for growing technology park

Nov. 2, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Data Center, a $32.7 million facility designed to ensure the safety and security of IU's most prized networking, computer processing and data storage equipment, will be formally dedicated on Thursday, Nov. 5, with a ceremony that will include remarks by IU President Michael McRobbie.

Data Center image

Photo by Chris Meyer

IU's new $32.7 million Data Center will house supercomputers Big Red and Quarry while also being able to withstand a F5 tornado. The center dedication is set for Nov. 5.

Print-Quality Photo

Hundreds of guests are expected to gather on the Bloomington campus to celebrate and tour this new facility that will support teaching, research and administration on all Indiana University campuses while also increasing IU's competitiveness for research grants.

The public event will take place at 3:30 p.m. at the Data Center, located at 2737 E. 10th St. in Bloomington. A reception and tours will immediately follow the ceremony.

Encompassing 82,700 gross square feet, including three 11,000-square-foot computer equipment rooms, the IU Data Center houses critical computing, networking and storage equipment that serve all Indiana University campuses via I-Light, Indiana's high-speed fiber optic network. The new facility is the largest data center among higher education institutions in the state of Indiana, and among the largest regionally.

"Indiana University's core information technology infrastructure plays an absolutely essential part in the university's education and research mission," McRobbie said. "It is almost impossible in this day and age for a great university like IU not to have first rate IT facilities and infrastructure."

"At the same time, the quality and excellence of this infrastructure and facilities have for over a decade consistently provided the base for large grants for new IT research facilities culminating in the recent $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation for Future Grid," he added. "Hence the Data Center will provide a state of the art environment for this core infrastructure which will allow it to grow in response to ever more increasing needs for IT in education and research and attract even more major grants, while being protected from all but the most severe disasters. This facility, combined with a smaller one in the Informatics and Communications Technology Building on the IUPUI campus to which is connected through multiple paths using the I-Light optical fiber network, will help ensure continuity of essential and critical IT services for the university community in all but the most calamitous circumstances."

Indiana University's digital and technological assets, including the supercomputers Big Red and Quarry and the Bloomington hub of Indiana's statewide I-Light network, will be secured in the Data Center. The Data Center's support for all IU campuses means that other campuses do not need to build such facilities.

"The new Data Center in Bloomington is a resource that will benefit every one of our students and faculty on the Indiana University Northwest campus," said IU Northwest Chancellor Bruce W. Bergland. "The new Data Center's computing power and storage capability, along with the greater connectivity to Indiana's academic community that we enjoy through I-Light, guarantee that our IU Northwest students and researchers, along with those at each of IU's five other regional campuses, have the same technological resources as their counterparts in Bloomington and Indianapolis."

In addition to IU Northwest, campuses at IU East in Richmond, IU Kokomo, IU South Bend, IU Southeast in New Albany and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne will each benefit from assets at the Data Center.

The Data Center is critical for Indiana University's faculty, students and research staff to conduct groundbreaking research that creates new knowledge and innovation. The $15-million FutureGrid project, primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, is already proving the value of the facility.

Professor Geoffrey C. Fox, director of the IU Pervasive Technology Institute's Digital Science Center and a professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Bloomington, is leading a collaboration with academic and industry partners throughout the U.S. and in Europe that could revolutionize supercomputing. New supercomputers will be housed in the Data Center for FutureGrid research.

The Data Center also protects mission-critical information technology systems such as systems for teaching and learning that support more than 115,000 faculty, staff and students across the state. Critical administrative systems that maintain course records, degrees and financial information will now be much safer in the new facility.

With a bunkered, concrete structure designed to withstand flooding, power outages or an F5 tornado, the Data Center will protect computers, servers and data storage units holding more than 2.8 petabytes of information.

"Research and education are increasingly a digital endeavor even for residential courses and research teams," noted Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology. "IU has been at the forefront of the IT movement within the higher education community for over a decade now, and the new Data Center is a huge leap forward in the capacity to continue that innovation."

The state of Indiana will also see direct benefits from the new Data Center through an agreement between the Indiana Office of Technology and IU that provides the state with backup data space and network connectivity. The partnership takes advantage of IU's information technology staff and its IT infrastructure, including I-Light and the Data Center's 24/7 operations center, that will provide critical redundancy and cost savings to the state.

The IU Data Center, with the adjacent IU Innovation Center and the recently-funded, 118,000-square-foot planned Cyberinfrastructure Building, form the foundation of a new IU Bloomington technology park being designed to expand north to the IU Cyclotron Facility.