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University of Otago becomes Datagrid anchor tenant

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Datagrid and the University of Otago have entered into a strategic agreement for New Zealand’s first university to become an anchor tenant in Datagrid's fully carbon-neutral hyperscale data centre.

According to Stephen Willis, chief operating officer at the University of Otago, Datagrid will develop a future-proof, customised and easily scalable hosting solution, that aims to ensure the University is equipped to manage the growing volumes of data predicted as increasing numbers of large-scale scientific projects come on stream.

Built on 43 hectares in Makarewa, Southland, near Invercargill in the South Island of New Zealand, Datagrid will serve both the public and business sectors with capacity of up to 150MW.

Levergaing Datagrid, Wallace Chase, University head of IT infrastructure says that the University will not need to invest in replacing its aging data centre, allowing it instead to scale up or down easily according to needs, with plans to start using the facility by 2024.

"The ability to process, transfer and store enormous digital files has become increasingly vital for researchers worldwide – some of our researchers’ most data-intensive work involves MRI scans, genomics, and results from sensors at field research sites,” said Professor Richard Blaikie, deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise at the University of Otago.

“Having a world-leading data centre ‘next door’ would help researchers stay at the forefront of their fields.”

The facility will also be powered by 100% renewable energy, which would support the University’s goal of being net zero carbon by 2030.

Remi Galasso, chief executive officer, Datagrid further explained that this will be powered by the Manapouri hydro power scheme, which combined with Southland’s cool annual average temperature of 9.8 degrees should make the data centre at least 15% more power efficient.

In addition, the Datagrid facility will comprise up to 10 modules, each spanning 6,500 square metres and is made up of a self-contained package of racks, air conditioning, power management, security, monitoring and fire protection.

The initial build phase will involve one module costing more than $100 million and is expected to be completed by 2024.

“Datagrid will be able to support all government, hyperscale and enterprise customers within the same datacentre, and provide them with future-proof, scalable hosting solutions as well as colocation services,” said Galasso.

Hawaiki, which shares the same parent as Datagrid – BW Digital – announced last year plans to build the 22,000km Hawaiki Nui cable that will connect Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill with connectivity via Sydney to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Singapore and Jakarta.

“Our partnership with the University of Otago also allows it to consider becoming a landing station for Hawaiki Nui, which would create a new internet gateway in Dunedin upon its scheduled completion in 2025,” added Galasso.

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