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May 20, 2013

GM opens $130 million Warren data center

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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GM opens $130 million Warren data center
Officials said the enterprise data center would serve as the computing backbone for GM’s global operations. The 5,040-square-foot Information Technology Operations and Command Center has 48 workstations and a 955-square-foot video wall with 28 configurable screens used to monitor data use around the clock.

WARREN — In June 2011, General Motors Co. first announced plans to build a $130 million global IT data center on the company’s Technical Center campus in Warren. On May 13, the world got a look at what that kind of an investment looks like.

In short, GM’s new enterprise data center looks more like the starship Enterprise.

Much like the famed “Star Trek” vessel, company officials said the new facility sits among the best in its class in the world. But unlike the legendary spacecraft, the data center exemplifies science, not science fiction.

Officials said the enterprise data center would serve as the computing backbone for GM’s global operations. The 5,040-square-foot Information Technology Operations and Command Center has 48 workstations and a 955-square-foot video wall with 28 configurable screens used to monitor data use around the clock.

The center, housed in the renovated and expanded Cadillac building on the Tech Center campus, and a companion data facility at the company’s Milford Proving Ground, are part of a plan to transform IT operations at 23 facilities by 2015. The company has announced a $100 million plan to expand its data center in Milford. The first center opened in Austin, Texas, in 2012.

“Having a single nerve center for our global operations will get newer vehicle designs and technologies into our customers’ hand quicker and improve the bottom line,” GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said in a prepared statement. “IT is back home where it should be, and it further drives unnecessary complexity from our businesses while improving our operational efficiency and better supporting our business strategy.”

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and members of the City Council gave their collective blessing to a 12-year tax break that helped lure the investment to Warren in 2011. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority also approved a requested $10 million brownfield tax credit for the project.

GM Vice President and CIO Randy Mott said the data center consolidation is one of the ways the company is transforming its business and IT operations.

He said it’s part of an “overarching strategy” that would make GM’s business operations more responsive to customers and shareholders, and quicker to market.

According to information provided by GM, the facility’s private data cloud supports data analysis of virtual crash testing by supercomputer that can be applied to vehicle design to refine safety technologies. Such testing will reportedly save the company $350,000 for each physical crash test it doesn’t have to perform.

Data consolidation and analysis at the facility also will reportedly improve the company’s ability to market products and to streamline engineering and production efforts, saving millions of dollars.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.