IBM Installs Modular Data Center at Bryant

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IBM today announced the first installation of its entry in the growing “data center in a box” sector. Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island is now using an IBM Scalable Modular Data Center, which will support the school’s growing student body while saving energy.

The Scalable Modular Data Center, which was announced in January, is a pre-engineered 500 or 1,000 square foot data center that can be rapidly deployed. The new offering, similar in concept to portable offerings announced by Sun (Project Blackbox) and Rackable (Concerto), enables users to build a data center in nearly any working environment using IBM Global Services’ capabilities and APC’s InfraStruXure data center architecture.

Bryant University prides itself on being wired with “one port per pillow” in each of its dorm rooms. But its three data centers were having trouble keeping pace with the school’s growth. Bryant truend to long-time partners IBM and APC for a solution.


Bryant replaced its Sun hardware infrastructure with IBM BladeCenter servers running Linux and used virtualization to improve its server utilization and save energy costs. These techniques are central to Project Big Green, IBM’s $1 billion a year intiiative to help clients reduce data center energy consumption.

“In the past 10 years, Bryant University has added 144,000 square feet of new facilities and has experienced a 300 percent rise in applications,” said Arthur Gloster, CIO of Bryant University. “We were not properly set up to handle this growth and it was time for Bryant University to make a cost-saving and energy efficient change. The IBM Scalable Modular Data Center solution allows us to concentrate on continuing to provide the student body, faculty and staff with the tools necessary to succeed.”

The Scalable Modular Data Center can be implemented in eight to 12 weeks, according to IBM, which said it is 15 percent less expensive than traditional data center builds. “IBM’s long history and expertise with data center implementations enabled us to create a solution to save energy and ensure efficient server performance for Bryant University,” said Steven Sams, vice president of IBM Global Site and Facilities Services.

The IBM Scalable Modular Data Center solution uses the APC InfraStruXure design, which integrates power, cooling, rack, management, services and security, allowing for selection of standardized components to create a solution through modular configurations. By using standardized components, the architecture easily scales to meet the evolving needs of the university.

“Bryant University is the beneficiary of what happens when two leading companies combine to create the best of both worlds,” said Dave Johnson, senior vice president and chief sales officer at APC-MGE.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.