In the fall of 2010, Syracuse University completed construction of the Syracuse University Data Center.   Roughly half of the space in the Data Center is hosted space designed to provide a secure physical environment that is flexible enough to allow access to the equipment by researchers and graduate assistants.

Over 120,000 linear feet—more than 22 miles—of wire was used in the construction of the electrical systems.
Almost one mile of piping is used in the heating and cooling systems.

Because the Data Center was constructed in accordance with LEED “Building” principles, more than 99 percent of all construction waste generated so far has been recycled. That’s over 1,200 tons (about 60 truckloads) of waste that did not go to a standard landfill.

More than 25,000 linear feet of electrical conduit, equivalent to about 83 football fields or 4.5 miles, has been used on the project.

About the Data Center

In partnership with IBM and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), 6,000 square feet of data center space was added that is powered by a unique tri-generation power plant which utilizes water chilled racks to increase power and cooling efficiencies. On site natural gas micro-turbines provide 650 kilowatts of power and their waste heat is used by two Thermax Absorption Chillers to provide equipment and building cooling. The Data Center cooling capacity is approximately three times that needed by the data center; excess chilled water is used to provide air conditioning for adjacent campus buildings. Lead-acid batteries provide 17 minutes of emergency backup power (at full capacity) in the unlikely event that the turbines and the utility grid simultaneously fail. To help further research on data center practices the Data Center has been instrumented with hundreds of sensors.

It is now also the main center for production computing resources, marrying research and administrative computing interests.

The internal Data Center network is 10 Gigabit with redundant connections to all hosts and network components whenever possible. The Data Center supports a robust virtual private cloud in which 95% of campus servers have been consolidated.   This includes servers (both research and operational) on campus that were housed in poor environmental conditions within distributed locations.Syracuse University Campus Cyberinfrastructure Plan
Exterior of Data Center
Syracuse University Data Center

The Data Center is connected to the campus network and the original data center via two bundles of geographically diverse, 144 strand fiber paths. This can be and has been used to provide direct connectivity between a researcher’s campus building and the hosted area in the Data Center.

Data Center Hosting for Researchers

Roughly half of the space in the Data Center is hosted space designed to provide a secure physical environment that is flexible enough to allow access to the equipment by researchers and graduate assistants. The hosted area is caged, and provides a separate entrance that allows access through a combination of ID cards, biometric finger prints, and PIN numbers. Over half of the computing load in the Data Center serves research computing needs. Researchers on campus are able to rely on having space in the Data Center that is very low cost and provides ideal environmental conditions for their equipment with power redundancy from the multiple layers of protection including the traditional electric grid, natural gas fired turbines (with on-site propane gas storage), and UPS.

Disaster Recovery (DR)

Machinery Hall (MH), the older data center utilized prior to the construction of the Data Center, has been repurposed into a DR site. Backup computing and storage capacity purposed for use in case of a disaster is currently available at the MH location. Anticipating that this computing capacity will typically be sitting idle, it is leveraged via a private virtual cloud for research computing. Researchers are able to use this capacity free of charge for their academic work.