Groundbreaking ceremony: New data center in Science Park III

31. October 2023

The SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm is building a new data center (RZ II) in the Ulm Science Park III. As part of a joint symbolic groundbreaking ceremony, Ulm’s mayor Gunter Czisch and SWU managing director Klaus Eder together with the Ulm architect Adrian Hochstrasser and representatives of the general contractor DC-Datacenter-Group GmbH (Wallmenroth), the building construction company Glöckle (Schweinfurt) and nps Bauprojektmanagement GmbH has now officially started construction work. From January 2025, a highly available data center operation for companies will be set up there, including fiber optic connections via bandwidth and access to the large Internet nodes in Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

High availability refers to a system that is available practically all the time and without long-term failures. The building area of ​​around 1,430 square meters offers enough space for this. “Secure IT infrastructures will be available in the new data center, with which we will lay a stable and innovative basis for the progressive digitalization of all areas of life and work,” says mayor Gunter Czisch.

The new data center is located in close proximity to the university, research institutions, technology companies and the “Campus for Artificial Intelligence” (KICU), which is also under construction, and will complement the existing SWU data center RZ I. “In this way, we are expanding SWU TeleNet’s range of services and supplies including hardware and cloud services as well as mega-fast fiber optic lines to completely new dimensions. At the same time, we offer our customers the highest level of safety, reliability and, above all, cost-effectiveness,” says Klaus Eder, SWU managing director. Instead of operating their own IT structures and equipment with their own staff, more and more companies are outsourcing these tasks to data centers in order to benefit from the expertise bundled there in the form of the latest equipment, secure infrastructure, high energy efficiency and trained employees. “For IT operations, it is the cheapest and at the same time the most environmentally friendly solution in the long term,” adds Jürgen Werner, head of the SWU-TeleNet data center. After construction work is completed in December 2024, the new building in Science Park III will provide space for around 150 server cabinets. With highly qualified employees, SWU TeleNet then ensures smooth operations – seven days a week and around the clock.

Extensive preparations

In order to be able to build and operate the new data center, a number of strict specifications and guidelines regarding location, availability, security and sustainability had to be taken into account during the planning stage. The entrance, which only authorized people are allowed to pass through, is monitored and documented by video. An uninterruptible two-way power supply ensures operation even at higher loads. Thanks to an uninterrupted power supply, even a power outage can be bridged for a few minutes with batteries and for several hours or days with an emergency generator. The control center, which is manned 365 days a year, provides early alerts in the event of malfunctions or emergencies. Jürgen Werner: “The special focus is on early detection. Thanks to our detailed monitoring, we can immediately detect, report and correct irregularities in the power supply or cooling. This means that failures don’t even have an impact.”

In addition to complying with the high safety guidelines (TÜV TSI Level III, DIN EN 50,600 Level III), another focus was on meeting the energy and CO2 saving requirements in order to meet the climate-neutral operation of data centers by 2027 as required by the Federal Environment Ministry. SWU TeleNet therefore relies on Green IT in its data centers. This means that the technology is designed to be environmentally friendly and resource-friendly throughout its entire life cycle. Accordingly, the new building will be supplied exclusively with green electricity from its own generation from hydroelectric power plants, including via an on-site photovoltaic system. In addition, the cooling systems are designed to be fail-safe so that not only low outside temperatures are optimally used, but waste heat can also be removed and used elsewhere. “Thanks to its location, structural design, energy supply, climate solution, fire protection, extinguishing technology, video-supported alarm and burglary precautions as well as the equipment and staffing, the new building meets all requirements. It can serve as a model example of a medium-sized data center,” says data center manager Jürgen Werner.

Zum gemeinsamen Spatenstich für das neue Rechenzentrum der SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm versammelten sich im Ulmer Science Park III: Klaus Eder (Geschäftsführer SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm), Adrian Hochstrasser (Geschäftsführer hochstrasser gesellschaft für architektur mbh), Christian Tigges (Projektleiter DC-Datacenter-Group GmbH), Michael Beuschlein (Geschäftsführer SWU TeleNet GmbH) und Gunter Czisch (Oberbürgermeister Ulm). (Foto: SWU)