Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6304

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Vol cxliii No 27

pp. 465–474


Second-stage Report of the Council on the construction of a Data Centre on the West Cambridge site

The Council begs leave to report to the University as follows:

1. A First-stage Report on the construction of a new Data Centre was submitted to the Regent House on 16 July 2012 (Reporter, 6274, 2011–12, p. 811) and approved by Grace 1 of 5 December 2012. This Second-stage Report is to update the Regent House on further development of the scheme and to seek approval for construction to proceed.

2. As stated in the First-stage Report the proposed new Data Centre is located to the south-west of the West Cambridge site adjacent to the Coton footbridge, as shown on the plan on p. 473.

3. The new building, which will have a gross internal area of 1,104 sq. m., will provide separate data halls for the following three institutions: University Computing Service (UCS), High Performance Computing Service (HPCS), and Cambridge Assessment (CA). Data facilities for the new Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Building will be provided within the UCS data hall. A fourth data hall will be constructed, but left as fallow space for future growth. The key aims of the project are:

• to provide UCS and HPCS with new accommodation as their current Data Centre can no longer provide the infrastructure required to underpin the future IT needs of the University. Specific issues of concern with the existing facility include the limited structural capacity of the server room floors, the limited electrical power capacity and the large energy wastage and related high carbon emissions;

• to provide a secure, robust, and energy-efficient location for University servers;

• to provide sufficient space for medium-term expansion within the Data Centre and pre-planned space within the site for long-term expansion;

• to enable other Departments to relocate servers from expensively air-conditioned clusters in offices and laboratories.

4. The new Data Centre is designed to minimize carbon emissions relative to the provided IT load. If both new and existing facilities were compared across a whole calendar year when operating at full load, the new Data Centre would give a 40% reduction in carbon emissions.

5. In accordance with the Capital Projects Process, a Full Case was approved by the Planning and Resources Committee at their meeting of 28 November 2012. It is estimated that the total running costs of the new building will be approximately £232 a square metre (a decrease of £85 a square metre on existing charges) based on the attribution of indirect costs, which cover such items as utilities and maintenance. These costs will be met from funds available to the University. Compared with existing facilities, the new Data Centre will generate net operational savings over 20 years of £1.5m from reduced maintenance and £8.7m from lower energy consumption.

6. The total cost of the project has been estimated at £19.4m. Funding of £15.2m has been confirmed from the Capital Fund and £4.2m provided by Cambridge Assessment. The project cost is based on a start on site in July 2013 with completion, including relocation, by December 2014. A planning application for the construction of the building was approved by Cambridge City Council on 21 March 2013.

7. Drawings of the proposed scheme are displayed for the information of the University in the Schools Arcade.

8. The Council recommends:

I. That approval is confirmed for the construction of a Data Centre on the West Cambridge site as proposed in this Report.

Plan of the proposed Data Centre at West Cambridge

22 April 2013

L. K. Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor

Andy Hopper

Rosalyn Old

N. Bampos

Fiona Karet

Rachael Padman

Charles Bell

F. P. Kelly

Shirley Pearce

Jeremy Caddick

Robert Lethbridge

John Shakeshaft

Stephen J. Cowley

Mark Lewisohn

Sam Wakeford

I. M. Le M. Du Quesnay

Rebecca Lingwood

I. H. White

Nicholas Gay

Mavis McDonald

A. D. Yates

David Good