Datagrid, the 150 megawatt facillity planned for Makarewa near Invercargill, has signed up its first anchor tenant, the University of Otago with 21 thousand students.
Moving to Datagrid would allow the UoO to stop investing in replacing its existing and ageing data centre, while allowing it to scale up or down with ease according to research, teaching and operational needs.
UoO chief operating officer Stephen Wills said the agreement means Datagrid will develop a future-proof, custom, scalable solution to help the university manage its exploding volume of data for upcoming scientific projects.
The research includes data-intensive work with magnetic resonance imaging scans, genomics and results from sensors at field research sites.
Estimated to cost US$500 million (NZ$770.2 million) in total to build, Datagrid is planned to have up to ten modules, each of which will span 6,500 square metres.
The modules will be built off-site, allowing for staged construction to meet demand.
Initially, one module costing over NZ$100 million is expected to be completed by 2024, which is when the University hopes to start using the Datagrid facility.
Datagrid will be powered completely with electricity from the Manapouri hydro station which has been supplying energy to the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, making it carbon neutral.
It will be connected to the world through Southland's first subsea internet cable, the 15,000 kilometre, BW Digital owned Hawaiki Nui which is yet to be built.
The Datagrid facility and Hawaiki Nui cable are estimated to cost NZ$1 billion in total.