New York City officials opened the city’s new 18,000-square-foot centralized IT data center on Monday, Feb. 28, during a press conference at the center’s downtown Brooklyn location.

The facility will enable the city to centralize the technology infrastructure of 19 government agencies over the next year and that of more than 40 agencies over the next five years, saving roughly $100 million during that period, according to New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).

“New York City is constantly employing new technology to improve and modernize services for New Yorkers, but until now the infrastructure behind that technology has been fragmented,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the news conference. “By reducing the IT work done by individual city agencies, we’ll enable them to concentrate more of their resources on what they really do best: teaching students, protecting our neighborhoods, cleaning our streets, preventing and putting out fires and doing all the other things that improve our quality of life.”

The initial costs of the data center are $11.7 million, including hardware, software, equipment and facilities build-out, with annual leasing costs of $2.7 million, according to DoITT.

The consolidation is part of the city’s CITIServ IT modernization program that officials say will enable New York City to run its IT operations in a more efficient, centralized and cost-effective manner. CITIServ, which stands for Citywide IT Infrastructure Services, will update outdated and unused technology resources while streamlining delivery of city services.

New York City launched the CitiServ initiative in March 2010 based on recommendations from an assessment of the city’s IT assets that Bloomberg ordered from DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. The report found that the city’s current IT infrastructure was “highly fragmented” and inefficient.

New York City is working with IBM to complete the consolidation’s first phase, which began in November and will take about a year to complete. IBM is the system integrator for a dozen agencies moving to the new data center. After this phase is completed, DoITT will search for a long-term system integrator, which doesn’t exclude IBM, to carry out the rest of the project, said Nicholas Sbordone, the department’s director of external affairs.

So far, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the Department of Sanitation’s IT Service Desk and the Department of Education’s “HR Connect” application have been moved into the new data center. These systems alone support 140,000 users, and their consolidation will achieve a recurring annual savings of approximately $200,000, according to DoITT.

“The process of consolidating, unifying and repurposing disparate data centers is now or will soon be under way at agencies across the city,” said Post in a prepared statement. “The value of having this data center now available is that it provides the capacity and services to ensure seamless transitions for those agencies, particularly those with systems nearing end-of-life or seeking to expand to meet space, storage or power needs. Those investments can now be combined, reduced or eliminated because of this new facility.”

Lauren Katims Nadeau  |  Contributing Writer