The City of New York became the latest government body to take aim at data center sprawl when it announced last week that it was going to overhaul its data center infrastructure.

The city announced that it will embark on a comprehensive overhaul of data infrastructure at 40 city agencies. The end goal is to modernize and consolidate operations, which the city believes could save it up to $100 million over five years.

“Today, city agencies are embracing new technology, constantly adding hardware and software to improve services and make information more readily available to the public,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Instead of building these systems on the often outdated and varied IT systems that exist at individual agencies, we will consolidate them in state-of-the-art data centers that can both support the growing needs of forward-thinking agencies while saving the city tens of million of dollars.”

The ambitious undertaking began with a 30-day review performed by Carole Post, the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) commissioner. As a result of the review, Post identified a number of benefits that could be achieved through a data center consolidation. They include:

  • Lowered cost of operations. By leveraging economies of scale the city believes it can reduce energy and facilities costs. Initial estimates peg the savings at $100 million over five years.
  • Reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The city believes the plan could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of planting 1,000,000 trees.
  • Strengthened security. The initiative will allow the city to implement strengthened security technologies and improve its ability to respond to emergencies.
  • Improves services. Enhanced reliability would allow agencies to devote a greater focus to their business missions.

The report noted that the city’s current IT infrastructure is highly-fragmented with more than 50 data centers serving about 40 agencies. It said the vast majority of the facilities and the technologies within them are obsolete.
The City of New York is just the latest government to announce plans to consolidate and modernize data centers. Last month the State of California announced an ambitious plan to reduce its data center footprint, and earlier this week Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra unveiled similar plans for the Federal government.

 

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