Penn State Building $60M University Data Center
Penn State students play frisbee in front of Old Main on campus. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Penn State Building $60M University Data Center

University hopes state-of-the-art data center will help attract top staff, students

Penn State University finalized plans for a second data center at University Park campus. The projected total budget for the project is $58 million. Funding will come primarily from borrowing and Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine reserves.

Many individual servers across the campus will be consolidated into the new university data center. The school needed additional secure capacity for operational and administrative needs and said the data center will help it remain on the cutting edge of "cyberscience" by helping attract researchers, teachers, and students.

The new data center will have a 1.75 megawatt initial load with option to add another megawatt in support of the initial footprint. Future expansion to 8 megawatts is possible.

The data center joins one under construction in Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which began this year.

“The increased need for a secure and robust data center at University Park arose from the expanded use of technology to provide the best education and research possible,” Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost, told Penn State news.

The data center will have hot and cold aisle containment. The university looked at a variety of cooling options and it will employ a three-stage process. The first stage will use heat exchangers to circulate indoor air. The second stage will spray water on heat exchangers to reduce temperature of the incoming air. The third stage will use mechanical cooling with compressors as required.

Other recent university data center projects include a modular data center by CommScope at the University of Montana. We recently looked at Florida Polytechnic University's data center design for supercomputing. Emerson Network Power is building a research and development center on the University of Dayton campus in Ohio.

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