The huge expense of building a new data center is prompting some innovative approaches to new construction. Yesterday two North Carolina universities announced that plans to jointly develop a $46 million data center near Greensboro. North Carolina A&T and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro say that sharing the data center will save the state more than $60 million while beefing up the computing infrastructure at both schools.
"In the long run, I think it will set a good example for the other universities in the system," said N.C. A&T chancellor Stanley Battle. The two schools already collaborate on Gateway University Research Park, the business campus where the new facility will be located. The data center will also provide additional connectivity that will attract private companies to the business park, according to UNCG Chancellor Patricia Sullivan, who noted the "insatiable demand" for computing power.
A&T officials say they are already running out of space and computing capacity, while UNCG projects that it will be out of resources by 2012. It will likely take three years to approve, plan and build the data center.
Officials of the two Greensboro schools said that building separate data centers for each would cost the state more than $100 million. The data center project will be proposed to the state General Assembly this year.
State legislators in North Carolina are likely to have a heightened awareness of data center investment in the wake of last year's controversy over tax incentives for Google's data center project in Lenoir. Media coverage questioned the wisdom of the tax breaks, and at least one lawsuit was filed challenging the incentive package.