Interview with Ian Tasker

Interview: Ian Tasker, University of Cambridge

In 2014, we completed a two-storey data center for the University of Cambridge, housing four data halls on two floors. The building accommodates approximately 220 racks, associated ancillary space and a plant providing 3MW of power. An air-chilled water system for data hall cooling was also included. External works involved providing the necessary infrastructure connections as well as security fencing around the site. The project was handed over after a 52-week programme in August 2014.

What role do you play in helping your organisation achieve its objectives and how is your performance measured?
My role as Data Center Manager is to ensure that the new facility operates efficiently, delivering high levels of availability and security to underpin research, teaching and learning activities for the whole of the University of Cambridge. By ensuring the facility is professionally managed, the University reaps the benefits of reduced energy consumption resulting from its quest to reduce overall carbon output by at least 10 per cent compared to 2013 figures.

Why was ISG awarded the project?
The University followed the OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) process and established a two-stage competitive tender exercise. The ISG offering was reviewed against a number of criteria and ultimately delivered on both cost and quality of proposal.

What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
Developing and agreeing the requirement of multiple stakeholders was unquestionably the most challenging and demanding aspect. The three major stakeholders all had differing levels of power density and cooling requirements, a variety of security needs and completely diverse views as to how best to operate the facility once completed.

Did ISG help with any additional requirements?
Specialist data center expertise was needed throughout the project lifecycle not just in the initial design phase. The site set up stage was also particularly challenging on this project and required a professional approach from the outset.