Underground data center project to include Web servers for LDS Church

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    By Corey Christiansen

    BYU”s new underground data center has been expanded to create space for Web servers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The servers will be housed in a 63-foot expansion on the northeast side of the Talmage Building and will service church office computers from Salt Lake City.

    “We were asked by the church to expand the building to accommodate some servers and networking infrastructure they wanted to house there,” said Eric Denna, vice president of information technology.

    The new addition to the underground structure will push the expected completion date to February 2002.

    Although the data center will be completed two months later than originally planned, construction on the building has gone forth without any major problems.

    “Progress on the project has been steady,” said a Okland Construction employee, the general contractor for the data center.

    While construction workers are putting up concrete walls, employees from the Office of Information Technology are anxiously waiting to move into the new home of BYU”s Web servers and telephone network.

    “We”re looking forward to having more space and a more stable area to operate our equipment,” said Max Davis, director of the Office of Information Technology network operations.

    The new data center will be more stable because it is equipped with a backup generator and a sophisticated fire-suppression system, said Paul Hardin, director of the Office of Information Technology infrastructure special projects.

    An emergency generator building is being constructed on the west side of the Talmage Building and will keep BYU”s servers running during a power outage.

    This is a much needed improvement because the old data center inside the Talmage Building was not equipped with a backup generator, Davis said.

    The fire-suppression system in the new data center will have a combination of standard water sprinklers and an inergen fire protection system.

    The inergen system will work well in the data center because it controls fires by using a gas that lowers the oxygen levels in the air, Hardin said.

    Because of these improvements, the Office of Information Technology will be able to provide a better network operation center for campus, he said.

    Once construction is completed, the sidewalks and grass will be replaced, Hardin said.

    However, trees will have to be planted along the perimeter of the data center because the building will only be 12 to 18 inches below ground, he said.

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