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Updated 10:00 AM February 5, 2007
 

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MCIT and MAIS join in opening new data center

Medical Center Information Technology (MCIT) and Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) have partnered to construct a new data center to house many of the University's critical business and health systems. Growth in research computing, along with increased use of administrative data systems, has created an increasing demand for computer data centers at U-M. The MAIS/MCIT data center will help the University keep pace with the demand.

Data centers house banks of computer servers and other equipment. They are designed to accommodate the specialized electrical, cooling, and wiring specifications required for today's high-power computer systems. To many U-M information technology professionals, these data centers are among the most coveted spaces on campus.

In addition to offering some relief to the shortage of data center space, the new MCIT/MAIS data center will enable U-M to handle disaster situations better. Bill Wrobleski, director of Technical Infrastructure Operations in MAIS, says the new facility will allow the University to recover its administrative systems quickly in the event one of its data centers is affected by a disaster.

"With the new data center, we can store copies of our data at two separate locations several miles apart. If a problem occurs at one location, we can transfer operations to the other location with minimal downtime," Wrobleski says.

Joseph Kryza, director of Operations and Technical Services at MCIT, says the Medical Center will see similar benefits.

"Our main data center is completely occupied, so this new facility will not only relieve our space shortage, but it will also give us extra space for parallel operations."

An essential part of the data center project was the collaboration and teamwork between MCIT and MAIS. Jocelyn DeWitt, chief information officer at the University Hospitals and Health Centers, says, "Both organizations will use this data center for many years to come, so when we agreed to share the space, we were really agreeing to a long-term partnership. I think this project will be the first of many collaborative efforts between MCIT and MAIS."

Laura Patterson, associate vice president for Administrative Information Services, agrees with DeWitt, and believes this partnership will benefit the entire University.

"The University depends on our organizations to provide reliable mission critical systems," she says. "Whenever it's possible to pool our resources and our expertise, we've seen great results."

The MCIT/MAIS data center isn't the only major data project underway. The Office of the Provost is leading the construction of a new 10,000 square foot facility. It will house a mix of systems, from high density research computing servers to traditional Web, file, and e-mail servers. The facility is called the Michigan Academic Computing Center (MACC). It has been planned by a cross-University team and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2007. More details are available at www.provost.umich.edu/macc/index.html.

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