Pennsylvania Data Center Project Finalized By Penn State

Penn State University announced in mid-March that it has finalized plans for a second data center on its University Park campus.

The new $58 million facility will be used to provide high performance computing and data storage related to the education and research initiatives supported by the school. The university is focused on research and has been rapidly expanding its use of technology in recent years, sparking demand for a second data center.

"State-of-the-art, high-performance computing and data storage are absolutely essential elements of any research-intensive university," said Neil Sharkey, vice president for research at Penn State. "Advanced computational models employing big data are now commonplace across academic disciplines, with advances in virtually all fields dependent upon cyberscience."

Construction on the university's first facility, located at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, started in January. When both sites are complete they will provide disaster recovery and continuity for one another in the case of an outage or disruptive event. The two Pennsylvania data centers are approximately 100 miles away from each other.

Penn Focusing on Energy Efficiency
The new Pennsylvania data center will provide 55,400 square feet of space and an initial capacity of 1.75 MW, with the ability to add another megawatt of support within the building's initial footprint. Future expansion could lead to at least 8 MW at the site. The school plans to consolidate multiple individual servers located across campus into the new facility where they can share power and cooling services, increasing energy efficiency by approximately 80 percent.

Data center sustainability is a main focus of the construction of both Pennsylvania data centers, and the new facility will employ a three-stage process to achieve the greatest amount of energy efficiency possible. The first stage will utilize heat exchangers to circulate indoor air, the second stage calls for water to be sprayed on the heat exchanges to lower the temperature of incoming air and the third stage uses mechanical cooling with compressors. Hot and cold aisle containment will also be used to segregate the hot air created by equipment from cool air circulating around the building. The university is aiming for a PUE rating of 1.19, much lower than the national average of 1.7.

The university will break ground on the new data center on April 6 and the project is expected to be completed in August 2016.

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