The University of Otago becomes the main customer of the Datagrid data center

An artist's impression of what Datagrid's data center will look like when completed.


An artist’s impression of what Datagrid’s data center will look like when completed.

The University of Otago has agreed to be a “pillar” customer for a massive data center to be built by Datagrid at North Makarewa in Southland.

University of Otago chief operating officer Stephen Willis has said the volume of data he has to manage is set to “explode” as more large-scale science projects are launched.

Datagrid’s chief executive, Remi Galasso, plans to file a resource permit application soon to build the data center and the university hopes to start using it in 2024, under a ‘strategic agreement’ between the company and the university.

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Datagrid expects that by 2025, its North Makarewa data center will be connected to the United States, Australia and Asia via a 22,000 kilometer submarine cable network designed by sister company Hawaiki.

It would also allow it to serve as a base for cloud computing services in eastern Australia.

Hawaiki Cable chief executive Remi Galasso says the combination of Hawaiki Nui (pictured above) and the Humboldt Cable will open up a new route linking Southeast Asia, Australasia and South America (video first published in December).

The cost of building the data center and cable network is expected to total over $1 billion, and it is hoped the investment could significantly boost the South Island’s digital economy.

Datagrid hopes its data center will also connect to South America and potentially Antarctica via another cable being considered by the Chilean government.

University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard Blaikie said ‘having a world-class data center next door’ would help researchers at the university stay at the forefront of their field .

The ability to process, transfer and store huge digital files has become increasingly vital for researchers around the world, he said.


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