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It’s taken eighteen months, $1 million and the collective brains of a multitude of people, but now the Albany campus has its own custom-built Modular Data Centre.
The centre posed a number of problems – its height meant there would be no scenic drive over the Harbour Bridge. Instead it ventured through to Albany using the north-western motorway and had to gingerly make its way down a gravel road past an active building site.
Once it arrived on campus, the problems did not stop there. It eventually took two cranes, another (shorter) articulated truck, and some careful manoeuvring downhill to its final site.
Built in Germany by Rittal, the centre is an essential part of the university’s business continuity strategy, and provides a much-needed back-up to the primary data centre at the Manawatu campus. As well as providing additional cover in a disaster, the centre will provide some localised services to the Albany campus, and house the university’s secondary international internet feed. It will also provide additional support in the event of long-term power cuts. It was not fully operational when the Albany campus was recently plunged into darkness after an on-campus transformer exploded.
Business continuity and facilities manager for Information Technology Services Jonathan Godfrey says it is the culmination of an extensive IT project to protect the University’s business services from a catastrophic disaster. “After what occurred in Christchurch, we need to ensure we have the right systems in place in case of any emergency,” he says. “Most people would have no notion of any of the work that has been done in the course of the project but they will receive the benefit of it every day. We’re very proud that the ITS team has managed to bring this project to fruition.”
The custom-built container has climate control, with direct free cooling to reduce energy costs. It also has three uninterruptable power supplies, a diesel-powered back-up generator, a gas-flood fire suppression system, a cold aisle containment system and twelve racks for IT equipment.
Training for ITS staff is currently underway and more equipment will be moved into it during August and September.