GM Unveils High Tech Data Center

General Motors revealed its state-of-the-art data center located at the company’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. GM said it was worth $130 million. The company has plans to open a second one at its Milford, Michigan facility. The data centers are part of the company’s overhaul of its worldwide IT operations. GM

GM has outsourced 90 percent of its information technology management for the past three decades. Some of the companies that handled GM’s IT needs were HP and Cisco. It cost the automaker around $3 billion.

The revamp of GM’s IT operations came when CEO Daniel F. Akerson joined the company’s board after its bankruptcy in 2009. He realized that one of the reasons the company found it difficult to compete was that it didn’t have a good handle on vital data. This hindered management from making quick decisions. He planned to bring back 90 percent of its IT operations back in-house.

The reversal in strategy gave GM an opportunity to benchmark the best data handling companies across the globe, which included Google, eBay and Facebook. This would ensure that GM’s data centers remain most modern and employ energy efficient technology.

The new Warren IT center is designed for future expansion in order to handle the complex computer simulations required by GM teams working on fuel economy, vehicle design, and quality requirement. Mainframe computers, servers and networking equipment are placed in four rooms with an area of around 10,000 square feet. Of the four, two have already been completed. The Milford data center will be the same and provide redundancy to keep risks at minimum.

GM utilizes air blown into the room from cold water pipes running through the sub floor to cool the computers. Backup power comes from rotating flywheels and diesel generators to keep power uninterrupted. It hopes to get the LEED Gold environmental standard when it comes to energy efficiency.