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Data center transformation brings major energy savings

Monday, April 21, 2014

For decades, the Boyd Data Center has been the secure home of the University of Georgia’s technology systems for IT services that must operate on a 24/7/365 basis. Now, the professionally-managed data center is saving the University substantial energy costs, thanks to strategic efforts to leverage new technologies.

“The Boyd Data Center is the IT backbone for UGA because it houses the computer systems and networks necessary to operate the institution for students, faculty and staff for research, academic and administrative purposes,” said Timothy M. Chester, Vice President for Information Technology. “But, it takes a lot of energy to not only operate the infrastructure in any data center, but also to keep the equipment cool.”

Since Chester arrived at the University almost two years ago, the Boyd Data Center has undergone a significant physical transformation to remove outdated equipment, invest in more efficient technologies and take steps to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.

The changes have resulted in a current $134,000 annual savings in energy costs to the University.

“We’ve removed more than 50 racks of servers and networking gear that we no longer need at the Boyd Data Center,” said Jeff Teasley, director of operations and infrastructure for the University’s Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS).

Taking advantage of cloud-based services, such as those for email and its learning management system, the University has been able to decommission legacy servers in the Boyd Data Center. Meanwhile, it has also been leveraging newer virtual technologies for IT systems.

“Using virtual technologies means we can provide more services for less cost,” Teasley said.

Besides strategically reducing infrastructure, the staff at the Boyd Data Center have also been carefully removing long-abandoned cables and wires beneath the raised floor at the facility and recycling the materials. A machine that safely and securely destroys old hard drives from servers and desktop computers further allows the staff to recycle scrap metal and plastic in a secure fashion.