PHOENIX, Ariz.-In what amounts to its biggest brick-and-mortar undertaking to date, PSCU has opened a 9,050 square-foot state-of-the-art data center in Phoenix, which supports nearly 700 of its member-owner credit union clients.

"This is a long-term investment," Executive Vice President of CU solutions Tom Gandre said of the $2.9-million outlay. "This is a solid technology environment with scalability, which is what credit unions look for to support their members."

After the June 4 ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gandre lauded how quickly the process unfolded. "We started at the beginning of the year; so it was completed in six months," said Gandre. "It was a terrific group of people who really expedited the process."

Presently, PSCU is using just 30% of available space in what is now its primary data center. The "command center" is supported by 550 servers and 180 terabytes of backup storage space. The IT department will soon be fully staffed at 50 employees, which includes a director of operations.


Exponential Growth

The call for a larger data center was based on exponential growth. Gandre explained that five years ago the CUSO handled roughly 913 million credit and debit transactions. This year that number is expected to reach 1.6 billion. "With the growth of analytics and mobile, we needed to build out the data center for credit union member needs moving forward."

The original data center located in St. Petersburg is still operational and now serves as a backup for Phoenix.

"These are both self-sufficient models," Gandre said of the data centers. "From St. Petersburg, we can see the Phoenix command center and its operations and vice versa."

When asked what would be the outcome if both data centers were impacted by simultaneous disasters, he responded such congruent events would be "incredibly unlikely" due to the system architecture and geographic locations. But Gandre added that the goal is to have most applications in a "live/live" environment soon.

PSCU also took a green approach to its energy output, which is already resulting in significant savings. "All server rooms require considerable amount of air conditioning," said Gandre. "We upgraded all of our AC units to energy efficient models, which has resulted in a 50% savings. This saved money can be reinvested."


'Very Good Story'

The Phoenix data center, which supports 425 employees in total, will provide 24-7 servicing of technical queries from PSCU employees and credit union staff members. "Credit unions expect a seamless member experience," said Gandre. "I think we have a very good story here and are excited that we are providing the right value proposition and answer to credit unions."

Looking forward, Gandre estimates that significant growth will be undertaken over the next five years.

"We just cut the ribbon on this facility but we have enough available floor space and power to almost triple operations with little effort."

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