The construction of the University of Groningen's (UG) new data centre reached the highest point with the construction of the last steel construction beams. This marks a significant achievement in a period dominated by coronavirus restrictions. In spite of everything, the construction project is progressing according to schedule. The construction phase will be completed in mid-June 2021. Once the building has been fitted out, the UG's Center for Information Technology (CIT) will be able to start using the new data centre and installing servers in early 2022. A contest is being held to decide on the name of the new building.
The contractor, Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, has been able to continue working hard in recent months and the building is expected to be completely wind and watertight by early March. This is a major step in the process. From that moment on, ENGIE Services, the technical service provider, will then be able to start on the technical installations in the building. This major task includes the installation of large back-up generators, cables, server cupboards and an energy-efficient cooling solution.
In the coming years, the demand for reliable and high-volume data storage, super-fast data processing and high-quality processing capacity is set to continue increasing substantially in the academic world. In addition to providing capacity for current and future supercomputers, the new data centre will also accommodate a new building for office automation. As a result, the UG is creating an exceptionally strong infrastructure for research, teaching and support processes.
Relocating the former computing space ('Rekenhal') on Landleven (built in 1971) as well as externally leased capacity to this new facility will be the UG's largest ever digital relocation. Some of the existing equipment will be moved to the CIT's Smitsborg building, where the existing data centre will be upgraded with an improved power supply and cooling systems, among other things.
The data centre does not yet have a name. The UG is inviting staff, students and the general public to suggest ideas via this contest:
Work on construction of the data centre started in September 2020 and it is expected to be usable by early 2022. ENGIE, in collaboration with its partners (Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, data centre consultant Zentrys, Dijkhuis Ingenieurs and Team4architecten) is responsible for the entire project. The engineering consultancy firm Deerns has been and is advising the University throughout the tendering, design and implementation phases.
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