As Binghamton University considers raising its technology fee by $10.50 for the 2019-20 academic year, BU’s Information Technology Services is beginning to plan a number of projects that could be funded by the increase, including the construction of a secondary data center at the health sciences campus in Johnson City.
According to Niyazi Bodur, associate vice president and chief information officer at the University, BU has data centers in multiple locations, including the Engineering Building on the main campus and in the Innovative Technologies Complex. The centers house the University’s computer systems, including servers and networks that help run and transmit programs such as Blackboard and the BU website.
“A data center is a space that houses the server and network equipment that stores, processes and transmits data,” Bodur wrote in an email. “This can be institutional systems such as Banner, Blackboard, University websites, research data and other institutional data, as well as file storage for faculty, staff and students.”
The new data center would serve the Johnson City campus as a primary data center and the main University campus as a secondary data center.
“It will be the primary data center for the Health Sciences campus, housing computational and network equipment for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Decker School of Nursing,” Bodur wrote.
According to Bodur, the construction of a new data center would help maintain the reliability of the University’s primary data center servers through “clustering,” a practice that backs up data on two separate servers so that programs can still operate if one server fails.
“Clustering is having two different servers, which are sometimes geographically distant, perform the same function and run the same system and data,” Bodur wrote. “By way of an example, Banner system and data will be clustered in both primary and secondary data servers. This will further increase the reliability and availability of the system, in case one location fails.”
Data centers also contain support infrastructure in the event of a power failure, which helps maintain the availability of information and the reliability of systems.
“Due to the critical nature of these systems and data, they need to be highly reliable and available,” Bodur wrote. “Therefore, critical support infrastructure is included in a data center as well, such as the units that keep all of the equipment cool and the battery backup units that ensure that things keep running if the building loses power.”