CSU plans to shut down some data centers
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 01:09
The Cal State University has expressed plans to shut down at least 90 percent of CSU data centers in an attempt to transfer them to virtual private data servers, according to a CSU memorandum.
The plan, known as the Data Center Initiative, was endorsed by the CSU Executive Council on Aug. 21, according to the same memorandum, which was addressed only to CSU presidents.
According to Matthew Black, systems analyst for Cal State Long Beach’s Network Services, the definition of a data center is not entirely clear.
Black said that data centers are rooms with raised floors, creating an empty space beneath the floors to store electrical cables or air-conditioning units, among other things. Back-up batteries can also be stored in the 12-inch space.
According to Black, there are at least two data centers on Cal State Long Beach’s campus: one in Brotman Hall and the other in the University Library’s basement.
According to the CSU memorandum, all proposals for moving the CSU’s data centers to virtual servers must be submitted to the Corporation for Educational Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), which provides Internet access and related services to the CSU, by mid-September.
CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said the system is still gathering information on what the Data Center Initiative would entail for the CSU, so the cost of the project and the number of employees it would affect remain unclear.
“We’re still in the process,” Fallis said. “We have already identified 76 data centers, with the likelihood of more, [that] represent 3,600 across the CSU system.”
Fallis said CENIC is working to find the best entity to meet the CSU’s needs for this project at the best cost.
He also said the CSU is considering this project because the system is looking for “efficiencies” or ways to save costs.
“We are constantly keeping an eye on technology developments and looking at ways to create efficiencies for our system,” Fallis said. “We do think that there is a chance that we will be able to identify significant cost savings given the size of the operation.”
According to Fallis, creating these efficiencies could affect the jobs of CSU employees.
“When we talk about efficiencies, we very often are talking about people,” Fallis said. “How exactly that will play out and what impact they will have on jobs, we don’t have that information available.”
Richard McGee, bargaining chair for the Cal State University Employees Union (CSUEU) Unit 9, said the union is concerned about this project because of its potential effect on jobs.
“The union is always concerned when there is danger of outsourcing,” McGee said. “This is clearly outsourcing.”
However, Fallis said the CSU does not anticipate that reducing the number of employees is going to be a major factor in cost savings from the project. He said the project aims to save in costs on electricity, space utilization and equipment replacement.
“This could save a lot of money,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said. “We would not lose anything because of the new capacious increased capacity of more modernized data centers.”