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RUG HPC Datacenter on Zernike Campus Groningen completed

20 September 2021

The new High Performance Computing Datacenter of the University of Groningen (UG) has been structurally delivered by ENGIE Services on Thursday 16 September 2021. This energy-efficient building on the Grouwelerie on the Zernike Campus replaces the old 'Rekenhal' of the Center for Information Technology (CIT). The design of the façade is inspired by a printed circuit board. In the coming months the Datacenter will be further equipped for the UG's systems, so that it can be used for education and research in phases from the beginning of 2022.

The new RUG datacenter replaces the existing 'Rekenhal' from 1971 - between Mercator and Duisenberg - which is too small and not so energy efficient. The construction project was completed within 1 year.

Strong infrastructure

Technical director of CIT Anke Breeuwsma is pleased with both the result and the smooth progress of the construction work. "With this new building we can meet the university's growing need for high-quality computing capacity and options for reliable data storage and data processing. As a result, CIT will remain an expert in research data. Such an exceptionally strong infrastructure is also enormously important for being able to collaborate on major groundbreaking research projects at an international level."

Need for new RUG data center

The demand for reliable and large data storage, super-fast data processing and high-quality computing capacity will continue to rise sharply within the university world in the coming years. In addition to the capacity for current and future supercomputers, the new data center will replace the new building for office automation. In this way, the UG is creating an exceptionally strong infrastructure for research, education and support.

Sustainable solutions

The new data center is highly energy efficient. The application of efficient electrical and cooling solutions will ensure that the energy efficiency rating (PUE) will be 1.25 or lower. This represents the ratio between the total power consumption of the datacenter and the power consumption of the equipment itself. With a PUE of 1.25, the data center uses 125 watts of power to power a 100 watt server. The difference of 25 Watts is used for facilities such as cooling and lighting.

"The datacenter is prepared to share the generated heat to, for example, WarmteStad or other users who have a heat demand," says Koen Grave project manager of EQUANS (formerly known as ENGIE). "In addition, we have opted for the most advanced electrical techniques to use the energy as efficiently as possible, think of the use of smart UPS systems. Sustainable cooling techniques were also used to cool the servers and a facility was built to cool the UG supercomputer with water instead of air. All in all, this has resulted in a high-tech datacenter with the most up to date techniques."

Planning

The new data center will be further prepared in the coming period for the relocation of new and existing systems. This will be done in phases. The first new systems with high-quality computing capacity will be ready for use by UG researchers in early 2022. The total relocation and setup of the data center is expected to take a year. The new name of the data center will also be announced shortly.

Construction & design team

The building project was realized by technical services provider ENGIE Services and its partners Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, consultant Zentrys, Dijkhuis ingenieurs and Team4architecten. In addition, installation technology consultant Deerns guided the university during the tendering, design and implementation phases.

More information about the project can be found at www.rug.nl/groundbreakingwork.

Last modified:23 September 2021 3.18 p.m.
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