MCNC, the operator of the statewide North Carolina Research and Education Network, is adding capabilities to its own fiber and data infrastructure in a deal with Durham-based Sentinel Data Centers.

However, MCNC is not shutting down or moving any of its operations that are located at its headquarters in RTP.

“Neither,” says MCNC Chief Executive Officer Joe Freddoso when asked if the Sentinel deal that was announced Tuesday impacts current operations for data housing and its network operations.

“We are still in the data center business and our core will remain at its current locations,” Freddoso says.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

MCNC is extending its fiber backbone to Sentinel’s massive data center, which is located nearby. 

“Sentinel has a large amount of space and allows entities to operate their own space,” Freddoso says.

“We are building the fiber to put Sentinel on-net with NCREN and allow NCREN connectors who need large amounts of space to access the Sentinel facility.”

The deal also doesn’t preclude arrangements with other data center providers, he adds.

“MCNC is open to establishing direct fiber connectivity with any data center operator,” Freddoso says.

NCREN now operates a statewide high-speed network that runs on a fiber backbone. It works with state government agencies, universities, schools and non-profits. The NCREN network was completed last November.

Commercial services have to be obtained from private sector partners who have leased “dark” – or unused – fiber strands in the network.

Sentinel and MCNC terms the new agreement as an “alliance.”

“With its enterprise focus and customized approach, Sentinel is a unique provider of data center services in North Carolina,” Freddoso said in a statement. “The education, health care, and research organizations we serve every day require both the secure, scalable and predictable connectivity that our network delivers as well as the most reliable and flexible data center solutions. Combining our network and Sentinel’s facility capabilities provides a truly best-of-breed infrastructure solution for North Carolina’s rich universe of NCREN users.”

Todd Aaron, co-president of Sentinel, said the deal is a boost to the operation, which covers more than 400,000 square feet.

“Having NCREN built into our NC-1 facility is a core differentiator for Sentinel in serving our and MCNC’s mutual constituents,” he said in the announcement. We look forward to building upon what we truly consider a ‘win-win’ relationships.”