Dakota State University (DSU) has requested more than $6 million to replace its existing data center, as well as almost $2 million to replace IT hardware.

During a meeting between South Dakota’s public university system and its governing board last week, the universities put forward their budget requests totaling more than $189 million.

The requests vary and include renovating agricultural engineering facilities, replacing aging diagnostic equipment, installing security camera systems, expanding research facilities, and even starting a student-run business consulting venture.

Amongst the requests, DSU asked for one-time funds to replace its existing on-campus data center with a new facility that is better equipped to handle current demand and meet future growth.

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“The DSU Data Center was built in the 1980s and was not designed for the growth the university is currently seeing. The room is nearly at capacity for servers, and power and cooling are being pushed to their limits.”

DSU said that without remodel and expansion of the current DSU Data Center, the university has no ability to support additional students. The university is asking for $6.2 million to remodel data center space in its Science Center or another location on campus.

“DSU would look to expand the data center footprint to around 13,000‐14,000 sq ft (1,200-1,300 sqm). A data center of this size would meet the current needs and ensure DSU has ample room for future growth.”

As well as a new facility, DSU requested a hardware refresh. The University said the equipment at its Information Assurance lab, which provides technical support to students including virtual machines for student projects, was coming under strain.

“Because of the 'Covid pressure' on the virtual machine environment, DSU experienced VM sprawl, network congestion, and hardware failures.”

The University asked for $600,000 for hardware repair and reworking, and another $1.2 million for hardware replacement and upgrades.

“The investment of $1.8 million in the Information Assurance lab will allow DSU to renew the IA lab as a vital student learning tool and will allow DSU to continue to effectively operate high quality residential and online programming in information assurance.”

The South Dakota Board of Regents controls six public universities in South Dakota including Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, and the University of South Dakota. The Board also governs the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the South Dakota School for the Deaf.

Amongst the other universities, South Dakota State University, as part of its $23 million budget request, asked for just under $2 million for a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster and high-velocity data storage system. SDSU said its current HPC cluster was effectively fully utilized and a new system would further research in engineering, biotechnology, and agriculture.

The University of South Dakota requested $1.7 million to establish an Institute for AI and Data Science to teach and research AI.

The Argus Leader reports that the Board will make its final decisions on all budget requests in their August meeting.