The Northwestern University Data Center facilities are a vital part of the campus information technology (IT) infrastructure. Northwestern University Information Technology executes data center management standards and best practices. These facilities provide a secure, enterprise-wide, reliable, and redundant infrastructure for the delivery of mission-critical University systems.
In managing the IT enterprise and maintaining the infrastructure, NUIT ensures that high-quality information technology services are available to all administrative, academic, research, and high performance computing systems, along with important parts of the Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (StarLight), an interconnection facility for global research networks. Additionally, Cloud Computing Services are offered for University schools, departments, and business units who wish to self-manage their virtual data center resources within a fee-based private cloud model.
The Data Center facility benefits:
- 24/7 access—high availability connectivity to the Internet and campus network resources
- Secure data networks—ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of Northwestern University's information resources
- Service monitoring—ensures physical security and operational integrity of systems and services
- Environmental management— updated power distribution, cooling systems and environmental monitoring services
- Disaster recovery/business continuity—proactive plan to protect the University community and secure the continuity of its campus systems, programs, and services
- Load balancing—provide continuous availability of University-wide applications and services across campuses
- Reliable and scalable—service design includes serviceability of infrastructure components as well as ease of expansion to accommodate future growth.
- Server virtualization management—allow seamless transition between virtual clusters as service loads change and transition clusters between data centers, providing disaster recovery and high availability and simplified management.
Efficient Energy ManagementThe University maximizes the use of efficient energy solutions at the Data Centers while minimizing the impact on the environment.
- Environmentally controlled cooling and humidity ensures optimal levels of machine performance
- Energy efficient PDU with high effeciency transformers
- Power protection with N+1 UPS system
- Backup generator power for mission-critical University systems
A representation of these centrally-managed business enterprise systems includes:
- NU Business Intelligence
- Student Enterprise System (SES)
- Faculty and Staff Information System (FASIS)
- The NUPortal
- Collaboration Services
- Alumni Relations and Development Systems (AIMS)
- Financial Management System (NUFinancials)
- Course Management System (CMS)
- Facilities Management System (FMS)
- Research Administrative Systems
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) creates a framework by which to protect the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information. Northwestern University supports the goals of HIPAA and documents its commitment to comply with these laws in its "Northwestern HIPAA Research" policy.
Northwestern University Information Technology (NUIT) has instituted policies, procedures, and installed security enhancements to satisfy HIPAA compliance requirements for hosting information and processing within University data centers. These measures contain several enhancement to security including installing security cameras, computer room entry controls, and implementing visible badging of data center employees and visitors. While additional protocols are being adopted to further prepare NU to respond to formal HIPAA compliance audits, the Office of the General Counsel and Audit and Advisory Services have approved NUIT to begin hosting information in University data centers which fall under HIPAA rules.
The readiness of the University data centers to protect personal health information (PHI) and personal identifiable information (PII) will assist principal investigators to comply in the collection, handling and protection of governed information; however, researchers are responsible to establish and monitor compliant laboratory and office protocols that protect the data in those environments. Researchers with data protection requirements of this nature should consult with NUIT on possible solutions to their needs by contacting Joe Paris, Associate Director of Research Computing Services.
Important system status alerts and late breaking news that affect University IT network and services are available at Status of University IT Services.
University system administrators and developers can view real-time statistics of Web application performances as well as past service statistics on the Capacity and Availability Service Monitoring Web-based dashboard.
- Practice on Locating Administrative Applications or Equipment in Central Data Centers
- Migration of Applications and Information to Data Center Services
- Virtual Hosting Services
- Research Data Center Facilities
- Cloud Computing Services
- High Performance Research Computing
- Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (StarLight)
- Status of University IT Services
- Capacity and Availability Service Monitoring
- Northwestern University Data Center Brochure
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Last Updated: 7 March 2014