Photo: Michigan CIO Ken Theis

Within weeks, Michigan will take the first step toward building a massive data center designed to provide cloud computing services to state agencies, cities, counties and schools across the state.

Michigan's Department of Information Technology will release a request for information (RFI) in September to gather ideas and gauge industry interest in forming a public-private partnership to build and operate the facility, according to state CIO Ken Theis. The state intends to break ground on the data center project in October 2010.

"This is really big for us," said Theis, in an interview with Government Technology. "It could potentially be an 80,000- to 100,000-square-foot data center. And we're not only looking at it from a shared-services and cloud computing perspective, we're also looking at this for economic development."

Theis said the new facility -- dubbed the Great Lakes Information and Technology Center -- would cut the cost of running government by reducing the number of duplicate computer systems operated by cities, counties and state agencies. The plan envisions a public-sector cloud that would offer application hosting and managed services to any public entity in Michigan.

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