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April 12, 2018

MSU announces new IT strategy and opening of new data center

During a ribbon cutting for Michigan State University's new Data Center, MSU Interim President John Engler announced a new campus-wide IT strategy that reflects the university's commitment to providing leading-edge, functional and efficient IT infrastructure, support and services necessary to carry out MSU's mission of teaching, learning, research and outreach in the digital era.

"Currently, more than 60 IT groups operate on campus," Engler said. "Our new approach will create a central leadership and operating structure to position IT to deliver services better and promote more rapid applications-development across the campus."

The new strategy and data center will allow the university to imagine and support digital learning, outreach, engagement and research by serving as a tier-1 connected hub for academic units across campus while also providing connectivity to research networks around the world.

"MSU's status as a leading global research university requires that we develop a world-class technology infrastructure system that supports our research," Engler said. "We will do this while maintaining full compliance with federal obligations and special research needs."

The MSU Data Center also has the capacity to spur economic development by providing opportunities to collaborate with other university and business partners locally and beyond

The 25,000-square-foot MSU Data Center was collaboratively designed with input from departments across the university. Construction began in September 2016 and was completed in 15 months, almost four months ahead of schedule. Annual savings are estimated to be around $600,000 through the consolidation of three university enterprise data centers.

MSU Data Center features:

  • Co-location. Allows departments to place their servers in the MSU Data Center ensuring the same high level of security, temperature control and backup power from which other university applications benefit. It optimizes server storage and overhead costs for departments and the university.
  • Storage. Scalable storage is available that is highly redundant and secure and includes automatic backups. This shared file space allows faculty, staff and students to access their data from any computer or device.
  • Virtualization. Virtual server hosting uses technology that makes one server appear to mimic multiple servers running at one time. This hosting is more efficient in server capacity, hardware and energy usage
  • Security. Physical and virtual security have been designed into several layers of the data center.
  • Climate Control. The data center climate is controlled with indirect air-side economization cooling technology. IT rack electronic controllers are capable of responding to climate-related alerts for hot spots, excessive temperatures and other conditions exceeding system thresholds.

"Having the right tools to deliver leading technology is key to the success of our information technology system, and more importantly, to the success of our students, faculty and staff that we serve every day," said MSU Chief Information Officer Rob McCurdy.

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