By Jesse Drake
Three members of UIT's leadership team (UITL) toured the university's Downtown Data Center (DDC) warehouse on June 12.
Accompanying Steve Hess, chief information officer, Jim Livingston, chief technology officer, and Lisa Kuhn, chief financial officer for UIT and Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), were UIT/UETN Finance Manager Peter Panos, Inventory Supervisor Elaine Gallegos, and DDC Warehouse Storekeeper David Young.
The DDC – a secure facility which UIT fully occupied in April 2012, according to Data Center Manager Glen Cameron – significantly increases the U's storage and server capabilities. The city block-length building, which was originally a Coca-cola bottling plant, is unmarked for security reasons. It's a bit of a fortress, made of reinforced, earthquake-proof building materials, with an extremely stable internal environment. Cooling, humidity, particulates, and power distribution (plus redundant electrical system) are tightly monitored and controlled. The building is accessible only to authorized staff members.
The warehouse occupies the southern end of the data center (approximately 16,000 of 74,000 square feet of building space). In addition to UIT, which includes the Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and data center teams, other tenants include a mix of university and external entities. UIT's section is approximately 2,200 square feet.
Before then, Panos said the cavernous space sat largely vacant, with DDC staff using only a small area to store equipment as it was sorted to be repurposed or shipped off to surplus.
"The space was originally envisioned for future data center expansion, which it may still be used for in the future. But in the meantime, the warehouse is an efficient use of the idle space," Panos said.
Completion of the UIT warehouse happened in stages. Panos said that months of planning before construction led to fencing and lighting installed for certain spaces in February of 2017. In March, UIT was given notice to vacate the warehouse at 585 Komas and moved inventory to the new DDC space before construction was complete. In April, shelving was installed, and over the course of the next couple months, details and modifications were worked out to run power and network cables. An adjacent networking staging area for equipment configuration was also set up.
Gallegos said that IT inventory stored in the warehouse includes network switches, wireless Access Points (APs), AP adapters, transceivers, stacking and patch cables, phone sets and acessories, in addition to surplus and trade-in equipment.
Photos of the tour are below: