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RCI Renovated; Open House Sept. 28

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The Research Computing and Instrumentation Center, which provides support to UNH’s sponsored research community, will hold an open house Sept. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the third floor atrium of Morse Hall. The data center has recently undergone a near total renovation.

“The renovation of the data center demonstrates the institutional commitment to meeting the expanding needs of the research enterprise at UNH,” says Patrick Messer, director of the Research Computing and Instrumentation Center. “These are exciting times for the RCI and we are looking forward to managing a secure, energy efficient, and state of the art facility.”

The data center manages upwards of 200 Terabytes of data, some of which requires special security measures. Currently, the data center houses twenty racks of servers, some of which are high-performance computers (HPC) supporting computationally intense simulations by UNH researchers. Joachim Raeder and Kai Germaschewski, EOS Space Science Center faculty, have helped lead UNH into the HPC arena through awarded proposals targeting high end computers to support their research.

The design is based in part from the successes of UNH Information Technology's data center which incorporates many of the same design features. “RCI was able to collaborate with UNH Information Technology on data center best practices. UNH IT shared information about how it achieved significant reduction in power usage as well as security practices. UNH IT also provides some disaster recovery services for RCI,” says Bill Hall, director of UNH IT Enterprise Computing. “We have two data center on campus – it makes sense to pool our knowledge to make both centers innovative and effective.”

Messer says the new 2,000- square-foot data center supports existing high performance computing and attracts new funding initiatives. Swipe locks and video cameras provide enhanced security and enable audit capability.

“The RCI staff has supported our research in multiple ways, including secure data storage and secure data transfer to federal agencies, the development of web-based query tools to support community health assessment, and development of tools to support our federal reporting requirements,” says Jo Porter, deputy director of UNH’s New Hampshire Institute on Health Policy and Practice.

The data center was part of the original Morse Hall construction done in the mid 1980's. The recent work added energy efficient in-row cooling, which uses rows of computer racks formed in "pods" to create hot aisle and cold aisle zones to maximize the delta temperature for cooling efficiency.

Each pod contains dedicated UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) power for battery backup in the event of power outages. Both the air conditioning and UPSs have "n+1" redundancy: the center can lose a battery or a/c unit and still maintain its power and cooling capacity.

Funding for the renovation was provided for by the Space Allocation, Repairs and Renovation Committee (SARRC). RCI, which operates the Morse Hall data center, is part of the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research. 

RCI was formed in the fall of 2010 by combining the Research Computing Center (RCC), the University Instrumentation Center (UIC) and Research Information Technology (RIT). In addition to providing support to the sponsored research community, RCI collaborates with higher education, industry, and government to create innovative technologies designed to address important social, environmental, and economic needs.