The interior of an IBM data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. (Photo: IBM)

IBM Opens Cloud Data Center in Research Triangle

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The interior of the $360 million new IBM data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The interior of the $360 million new IBM data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

IBM.com has a new home. Big Blue’s web site now resides in a huge new cloud computing data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, where IBM is investing $362 million to build out more than 100,000 square feet of data center space. The company held a ceremony Thursday to mark the opening of the first phase of data center space. 

The new facility also houses the US Open web site for the United States Golf Association (USGA), as well as a cloud computing application that allows students from a high school in Durham to access course materials and software from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and NC State.

IBM is hailing the energy efficiency of the new facility, which has been submitted for a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The data center will use fresh air cooling for half the year, and features a dynamic management system that adjusts the cooling in response to conditions in the server area.  

“This new facility not only sets new standards for energy efficiency, it also will deliver services that enable IBM’s clients to reduce costs, improve productivity, and assert competitive advantage in their markets,” said Pat Kerin, General Manager, IBM North America.

The USGA says the new data center’s efficiency is generating savings for customers. “The migration of our USOpen.com operations to IBM’s Raleigh data center reduced our energy consumption by 38 percent and floor space requirements by 54 percent,” said Alex Withers, managing director of Digital Media for the USGA. 

IBM built the Research Triangle data center with its modular design, the Enterprise Modular Data Center (EMDC) which will allowthe company to rapidly scale capacity to meet demand by adding future space, power, and cooling to the data center with no disruption to existing operations.

In constructing the new data center, IBM renovated an existing building on its Research Triangle Park campus by reusing 95 percent of the original building’s shell, recycling 90 percent of the materials from the original building and ensuring that 20 percent of newly purchased material came from recycled products. 

For some attendees at Thursday’s ceremony, the project’s coolest feature was its economic impact. 

“IBM’s commitment to North Carolina has always been clear,” said North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue.  “The opening of this new, state-of-the-art data center designed and built to support IBM’s clients around the world affirms this commitment, and reflects the vital role North Carolina plays as an acknowledged center for technology and business both near and far.”

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.

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