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UG builds new data centre at Zernike Campus

19 August 2020

The University of Groningen has an increasing need for reliable data storage and high-quality computing power. The current Rekenhal computing space at Zernike Campus is seriously out of date and will therefore be replaced. The construction of the new High Performance Computing (HPC) data centre at the UG will start in September 2020 on the Grouwelerie road. Technical service provider ENGIE Services is the main contractor and will carry out the building work together with construction contractor Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma. The data centre will likely open its doors in early 2022.

Impression of the new data centre of the University
Impression of the new data centre of the University

‘The existing Rekenhal computing space, built in 1971 and located between the Mercator and Duisenberg buildings, lacks space, cooling systems and energy supplies, and is not very energy efficient,’ comments Anke Breeuwsma, CTO of the University’s Center for Information Technology (CIT). At the same time, there is a strongly increasing demand for reliable and future-proof supercomputers. ‘By building this new centre, UG researchers and departments will be able to continue to use our cloud services and very high-quality computing power. In this way, CIT will remain an expert in research data. Such exceptionally strong infrastructure is important because it allows us to collaborate on major, ground-breaking research projects at an international level.’

The new data centre will be placed between Grouwelerie and Zernikepark
The new data centre will be placed between Grouwelerie and Zernikepark

Energy-efficient design

The new data centre will be very energy efficient. ‘We apply efficient electrical and cooling solutions, which means that the centre’s energy efficiency score (PUE) will be 1.25 or below,’ explains Elmer Bos, data centres manager at ENGIE Services.

Building blocks of the new data centre
Building blocks of the new data centre

Planning

The contract was awarded based on a UAV-GC contract. Together with their partners (Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, advisor Zentrys, Dijkhuis ingenieurs and Team4architecten), ENGIE will be responsible for the entire realization of the data centre. In addition, installation technical advisor Deerns will assist the university during the tendering, design and implementation phase.

Construction will start in September 2020. As of 14 September the first foundation piles will be placed. To reduce vibration and noise nuisances, the pile foundations will be constructed by boring holes into the ground rather than piling the ground. The data centre is expected to be in use early 2022.

Last modified:07 December 2020 3.55 p.m.
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