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GAB Data Center Upgraded Successfully

By Cathy Gonzalez, EIS Training, Communication, and Administration Manager, CITC

An electrical shutdown of the General Academic Building (GAB) on the UNT Denton campus occurred the weekend of February 24-25, 2007. The primary reason for the electrical shutdown was the installation of a generator that will provide power to the computing data center in the GAB in the case of extended loss of city power. The GAB data center houses the largest number of computing resources that are critical to institutional administrative and academic functions. 

The entire project was a huge effort by the UNT Computing and Information Technology Center (CITC) and UNT Facilities along with many other institutional groups working together to accomplish this one goal. The project took over a year of planning. Consulting groups had to bid on the project and submit detailed plans. More then 20 staff from Facilities and 60 CITC staff assisted in the planning and/or participated in the weekend project. The project was lead by Steve Vocelka, Computer Operations Manager, CITC. Tremendous support and assistance by UNT Facilities staff lead by Glen Haubold, Associate Director of Facilities Maintenance, was critical in the projectís success.

Cooperative efforts between computing teams ensured an orderly shutdown and restart of critical systems housed in the GAB data center. These systems included EIS, WebCT services, and Research systems. Users of these systems were given timely notice of unavailability and contingency planning for needed services accommodated when possible, particularly for Academic departments dependent on the GAB for computing services.

The following is a recap of what was completed over the weekend of February 24-25:

  •  300-watt generator installation
  •  new transfer switch installation
  •  UPS 400 amp breaker to a 600 amp service upgrade
  •  thousands of feet of electrical cable installed
  •  breaker sets for the Liebert for generator support and quad connections for large floor fans installed
  •  breaker panels rewired to correct phase issues
  •  additional circuit breaker panels added that provide 114 new circuit capabilities
  •  two A/C units rewired

The successful shutdown and powering up of the computing facilities also afforded CITC to simulate a disaster recovery process.  This project has helped CITC analyze certain issues that occur during a disaster in regards to staffing, equipment locations, and how UNT accesses various components of its computing infrastructure.  The findings of the analysis are being used to update CITC's Disaster Recovery procedures regarding the dependencies that were learned from this exercise.  

Work still continues on completion of this critical project.  Although the generator is installed (sitting on the pad), the GAB still does not have emergency generator power.  A whole myriad of tests must be completed to ensure all components are working correctly.  Kohler (the manufacturer) will "commission" the generator and turn it over to UNT Facilities after those tests are completed.  Load testing of the generator will be conducted during this phase.  The testing should be completed and emergency power available by mid March 2007.

Pictures documenting the weekend efforts - like the one below - are available at the Facilities website.

New generator for the GAB




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