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IU lands $6M contract to manage data network

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A federal weather and climate agency has more than doubled the value of its contract with Indiana University for managing a massive computer network for research.

IU’s Global Research Network Operations Center, which is managed on IUPUI’s campus and in Bloomington, has secured a five-year, $6 million contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the university announced Thursday.

The deal, worth $1.2 million per year, extends a three-year agreement worth $1.6 million, or about $533,000 per year. The new contract started in September.

The IU center monitors NOAA’s N-Wave, which is a nationwide computer network used for transporting research data.

NOAA includes the National Weather Service, the National Ocean Services and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, among other offices.

Previously, the IU center monitored NOAA’s network and reported to the federal agency when there was a problem. Under the new contract, the IU center's own people will handle problems when they arise, said Brad Wheeler, the university’s chief information officer and vice president for information technology.

The center has about 100 employees, the majority of whom are engineers.

The contract extension could mean a handful of hires, Wheeler said, but the office, which has gradually grown over its 15 years, has enough capacity to handle most of the new business.

The center currently pulls in $2 million to $3 million in annual revenue, managing 20 computer networks. The largest is the Inernet2 research network, which connects more than 450 universities, corporations, government agencies, education networks and other research organizations around the world.

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