GM has a new $130 million datacenter

GM has a new $130 million datacenter

Summary: It will be "the computing backbone" for the automaker's global operations as it shrinks its 23-facility footprint to just two.

Photo courtesy GM

This morning, a rather giddy General Motors officially unveiled its new state-of-the-art, $130-million enterprise datacenter.

The facility, located at the automaker's Technical Center in the Detroit, Michigan suburb of Warren, will "serve as the computing backbone" for the automaker's global operations and is the first of two so-called "Information Technology Operations and Command" centers that it will build.

As you might expect for such a mammoth facility—93,400 square feet in total; the command center itself is 5,040 square feet, with 48 work stations and a 955-sq. ft. video wall—the datacenter is intended to consolidate IT infrastructure that is spread across multiple sites. It will handle compute related to GM's product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and OnStar applications; actual functions could range from crash test simulations to payments to suppliers in the supply chain to sales forecasting.

Oh, and the company's own private cloud.

GM's ultimate goal is to shrink its global IT footprint from 23 facilities today to two by 2015. The second, $100 million facility will be built in nearby Milford (a 45-minute drive from Warren) later this year.

"Having a single nerve center for our global operations will get newer vehicle designs and technologies into our customers' hands quicker and improve the bottom line," GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said in prepared remarks. "IT is back home where it should be."

Editor's note: The original version of this post indicated that the datacenter was 5,040 square feet; that is incorrect. The datacenter is 93,400 square feet and the Command Center is 5,040 square feet. We regret the error.

Topics: Data Centers, Hardware

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • An excellent example.

    As to why public cloud solutions are unsuitable for most businesses.

    Private cloud and in-house is the only way forward for businesses who want to control their own intellectual property.
    • OK, I will let you know

      You drew a conclusion totally unsupported by the evidence.

      It is rather an example of why public cloud solutions may not be the best solution for SOME businesses.

      GM has unique needs (from OnStar to basic business functions to supercomputer scale simulations) and therefore came up with a unique solution. Notice they are consolidating for control and efficiency purposes, but building their private cloud. Must businesses cannot justify the cost and complexity of a private cloud.
      • Outsourcing rules

        It follow pretty much the same rules as outsourcing IT.

        If you are a small business you cannot generate enough work to justify the specialist headcount needed to be very good at all things I/T. (ex: hiring a whole DBA when you really only need 10% of a whole DBA)

        But any company that is large enough to keep deep specialists going at near 100% is just lighting money on fire by outsourcing (as well as limiting its options). Pretty much any company in the Fortune 500 falls into this category.

        Cloud computing is still new so there are not enough specialists to go around yet, but it won't be long before every large company should also have its own private cloud. No point in paying someone else for the pleasure when you already have the scale to match their efficiency. That's before even going into security, confidential data, etc.
  • Eggs in One Basket?

    Both command centers within 45 minutes of each other? Just wait for the next super storm to hit the Detroit area...