By Larrisa Beth Turner
Nearly seven years after the Downtown Data Center (DDC) opened, interest in one of the university’s better-kept secrets still hasn’t waned.
On February 19, a group of U leadership — including Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Dan Reed, Chief Financial Officer Cathy Anderson, Vice President for Administrative Services John Nixon, Chief Design and Construction Officer Robin Burr, and Design and Construction Director Gary Giglio — toured the facility with UIT Chief Information Officer Steve Hess, Chief Technology Officer Jim Livingston, Network and Communications Infrastructure Director Mike Ekstrom, DDC Manager Glen Cameron, and DDC staff member Mike Shimmin.
The DDC houses a signification portion of the U’s storage and server capabilities.
Reed, who joined the U in July 2018, has a background in computational science, bioinformatics, electrical and computer engineering, medicine, and supercomputing. One of his Twitter handles is @HPCDan, and he often posts about technology and high-performance computing — the latter of which has dedicated space at the warehouse.
“I appreciated the detailed tour Tuesday of our Downtown Data Center arranged by Chief Information Officer Steve Hess and his team,” Reed tweeted later that day. “The center provides computing power for our entire institution — and supports several other entities as well.”
Ekstrom, who oversees work at the secure facility, loves giving the tours and showing off UIT’s hard work.
“It is always exciting to see the wide eyes and impressed faces as people come to understand the magnitude of our data center operations,” he said. “Each of the leaders expressed sincere appreciation to the DDC team for the fantastic facility. And a couple of people who have been involved with data centers before commented on the quality of the facility and mentioned how impressed they were with how tidy and well managed everything was.”