Project Talking Points

Data Center Aggregation Project
Overview & Update – 5.20.13

 The following is the latest in talking points for department presentations.


  • The purpose of this project is to develop a new campus level model for providing data center services that leverages industry-leading practices for facility management, server administration, server virtualization and service management in order to save costs, improve service levels to all of campus, and minimize data security risks.
  • A campus-wide team estimated that the university can realize significant savings over five years through incremental virtualization (70% of total servers virtualized) and co-location.
    • Savings will also occur in these areas: server replacement, annual backup and software, utilities, and the reallocation of labor.
    • Some existing centers will be identified to become aggregation points to provide capacity for campus.
    • No existing data centers will be closed based on their ability or inability to meet the recommended minimum attributes.
    • There will be recommendations made to aggregate some existing centers into the new service using a timeline driven by typical equipment replacement schedules.
      • Campus may not reinvest in some existing centers, but rather meet the business needs through more efficient data center solutions.


  • Three sub-teams were created to look at distinct aspects of the project. They were
    • Campus Services
    • Facilities
    • Organization & Governance
    • The Campus Services sub-team conducted interviews across campus to begin the process of identifying baseline customer business and process requirements.
    • The Facilities team combined an inventory of current campus data centers, peer benchmarking and other inputs to create recommended Minimum Attributes for a UW-Madison data center.
    • The draft deliverables from these two teams do not define the final offer, but rather will be integrated into the work of the Organization & Governance sub-team to create a recommended model.

Current Activities:

  • The Campus Services sub-team has completed its work. Their work product, Recommended Baseline Service Requirements, has been delivered to the Organization & Governance sub-team for incorporation into the drafting of the final operational model.
  • The Executive Committee is reviewing the Recommended Minimum Standards and campus inventory prepared by the Facilities sub-team, prior to the publishing of these drafts to campus.


  • The goal is to implement a campus-wide data center service that is attractive enough to become the preferred choice for many campus customers.
  • We anticipate that incentives will be put in place to assist some customers in moving to the centralized services sooner than later, however a framework for this aspect of the project has not yet been drafted.
  • There will be a standing governance committee who will serve as stewards of the vision and assist with high-level decision making on how data center service needs on campus are met.
  • We understand that while this project is underway, work continues in managing existing and planning for new data centers. It is not the team’s intent to impede your work, but to implement the new, aggregated solutions to best serve your needs at the appropriate time.