NYC begins cloud migration for technology data centers

By delegating certain IT support functions to the cloud, New York will reduce its technology operations costs along with cutting its carbon footprint.

New York City wants its software and application programmers to serve the public with great Web sites and applications, not be slaves to keeping up the city's technology and data center infrastructure. Plus, it supports a major metropolitan sustainability agenda in the form of PlaNYC2030, one that supports a goal of cutting carbon emissions for the city by 2030.

Those are two big reasons why New York's information technology team is looking to the cloud computing model to consolidate and modernize its data centers through an initiative called the NYC Citywide IT Infrastructure Services (CITIServ).

Phase one of that migration is a new $7.7 million contract with IBM announced this week that covers more than one dozen city agencies, including the Department of Finance, Department of Sanitation, and the Chief Medical Examiner. The first services that will be addressed include the help desk, hosting, storage, e-mail, virtualization footprint, and network services. The deal was announced today as part of a contract with the IBM cloud computing division, which supports an offering called the Federal Community Cloud and Municipal Cloud.

Responding my e-mail request for more information, the city's director of external affairs for IT matters, Nicholas Sbordone, notes that three major benefits of the project include updating the city's technology infrastructure, introducing the idea of shared services and are common across departments and reducing its overall technology footprint (including the carbon implications of same). Probably even more important, he notes, is the fact that the city's IT team can focus on applications and services that serve the public rather than supporting servers, operating systems and networking equipment.

The city expects to save up to $100 million with the data center consolidation and update over the next five years, even while improving the technology services that it can offer. That is the power of cloud computing. In the press release about CITIServe in March 2010, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that moving the city's IT operations to a cloud computing model would have the same impact on carbon emissions as planting 1 million trees.

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