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Datagrid welcomes University of Otago as future anchor tenant

Published June 1, 2022

Header Datagrid  - Otago University
  • Datagrid offering customised hosting and colocation services to the University of Otago
  • Aiming to provide capacity and storage boost as research data explodes
  • Potential links with Hawaiki Nui and Humboldt to further aid researchers

AUCKLAND / DUNEDIN, New Zealand – 1 June 2022 – A strategic agreement announced today between Datagrid and the University of Otago paves the way for New Zealand’s first university to become an anchor tenant in the country’s first fully carbon-neutral hyperscale datacentre.

The Datagrid facility for storing and processing data will serve both the public and business sectors with capacity of up to 150MW. It will be built on 43 hectares in Makarewa, Southland, near Invercargill in the South Island of New Zealand.

University of Otago Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis says under the agreement, Datagrid would develop a future-proof, customised and easily scalable hosting solution, with the aim of helping to ensure the University is equipped to manage the exploding volumes of data anticipated as rising numbers of large-scale scientific projects come on stream.

University Head of IT infrastructure Wallace Chase says using the datacentre would mean no longer needing to invest in replacing the University’s aging datacentre, allowing it instead to scale up or down easily according to research, teaching, learning, and operational needs.

The University hopes to start using the hyperscale datacentre in 2024, Mr Chase says.

University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie says: “the ability to process, transfer and store enormous digital files has become increasingly vital for researchers worldwide – some of our researchers’ most data-intensive work involves MRI scans, genomics, and results from sensors at field research sites”.

“Having a world-leading datacentre ‘next door’ would help researchers stay at the forefront of their fields.”

University of Otago Sustainability Office Head Ray O’Brien says the hyperscale datacentre would be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, which would support the University’s goal of being net zero carbon by 2030.

Datagrid Chief Executive Officer Remi Galasso explains that the datacentre would be powered by the Manapouri hydro power scheme, while Southland’s relatively cool annual average temperature of 9.8 degrees should make the datacentre at least 15 per cent more power efficient, further lowering cooling costs.

The Datagrid facility will comprise up to 10 modules, each spanning 6,500 square metres. Each module is a self-contained package of racks (servers, hard disk drives, and other computing equipment), air conditioning, power management, security, monitoring, and fire protection.

Modular datacentres can be built quickly by creating infrastructure on-site as the modules are being produced off-site, and construction can be staged to meet demand with minimal disruption. The initial build will involve one module costing more than $100 million and is expected to be completed by 2024.

“Datagrid will be able to support all government, hyperscale and enterprise customers within the same datacentre, and provide them with future-proof, scalable hosting solutions as well as colocation services,” Mr Galasso said.

Hawaiki Nui

Auckland-based subsea cable company Hawaiki, which shares the same parent as Datagrid – BW Digital – announced last year the construction of the 22,000km Hawaiki Nui cable that will connect Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill while also linking them – via Sydney – to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Singapore, and Jakarta.

Hawaiki Nui will provide Datagrid with subsea connectivity and enable customers to cost-effectively connect to the datacentre.

“Our partnership with the University of Otago also allows it to consider becoming a landing station for Hawaiki Nui, which would create a new internet gateway in Dunedin upon its scheduled completion in 2025,” Mr Galasso says.

Datagrid and Hawaiki Nui cable are projected to cost in excess of $1 billion, building on the 15,000 km Hawaiki Transpacific Cable which came into service in 2018, connecting the North Island to Australia, the Pacific and west coast of the US.

Antarctica

BW Digital is also the strategic partner of the Chilean government’s Desarrollo Pais infrastructure fund to develop the Humboldt Cable System, which will connect Valparaiso, Chile to Sydney, Australia.

Humboldt would include several branches for the connection of Chilean island territories, Invercargill as well as to Antarctica. The almost 2,000-kilometre branch from Humboldt trunk cable to Antarctica would provide the first ultrafast broadband connection to the scientific community at Scott Base – which hosts researchers from the UoO and other institutions – replacing their existing, less reliable satellite communications.

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About Datagrid New Zealand LP

Datagrid New Zealand LP, headquartered in Auckland, is a subsidiary of BW Digital. It is the owner and developer of the carbon-neutral hyperscale datacentre Datagrid located in Invercargill, New Zealand. For more information, connect with Datagrid on LinkedIn.

About Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP

Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP, headquartered in Auckland, is a subsidiary of BW Digital. It owns and operates the Hawaiki Submarine Cable network, connecting Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Hawaii, and the US west coast. For more information, connect with Hawaiki on LinkedIn.

About the University of Otago

The University of Otago was founded in Dunedin – in the South Island of New Zealand – in 1869 and was New Zealand’s first university. It now has about 21,000 students, 4000 staff, world-leading researchers and an unmatched record in the National Teaching Excellence Awards.

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Media contacts

Datagrid New Zealand LP
David Binning
Brand Comms Bureau
+61.406.397.033
David.binning@bcbureau.com.au
University of Otago
Liane Topham-Kindley
Media Engagement Team – University of Otago
021 279 9065
liane-topham-kindley@otago.ac.nz