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New York State and SUNY Partner for Data Center Consolidation

New York Gov. Cuomo has announced that the state will consolidate its approximately 50 scattered data centers at the State University of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

As part of a larger effort to rework the state’s IT infrastructure, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on April 10 that the state's approximately 50 data centers spread across New York would be consolidated, saving the state an expected $1 billion over the next 20 years, or $50 million yearly, according to the governor’s office.

The data centers will be housed at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and managed in a partnership between CNSE, the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), and the New York State Office of General Services (OGS).

“With this new data center and partnership with CNSE, New York state is ushering in a new era of IT security and efficiency, as well as maximizing economic development and innovation opportunities,” Cuomo said in a press release. “No area of state government was more siloed than IT, but with this consolidation, we are eliminating inefficiencies and duplication with one of the most advanced and cost-effective data centers in the world. This data center is another example of how New York is leveraging technology to improve government operations and services for its citizens.”

The data center that will be housed at CNSE is not only intended to serve as a consolidation and optimization effort, but also a means to spur economic growth and promote innovation that benefits the state.

CNSE is not a traditional school, according to Steve Janack, CNSE vice president for marketing and communications, because the college not only has students, but also houses more than 300 private high-tech companies from around the world that are researching, developing and commercializing nanotechnology. Nanotechnology, Janack said, can be applied to many other fields of technology, including ones that interest state and local government, such as energy and biotechnology.

“In one location, you have private industry co-located with the college, so there is a great opportunity to cross-pollinate in terms of the innovation that happens within the information technology industry,” he said. “By having the data center located here, there are incredible advantages for New York state in terms of consolidation and cost efficiency, and being at the cutting edge of innovation to be able to deliver better services to New Yorkers.”

The move is mutually beneficial, though, Janack said, and should be viewed as a partnership, not just as the college taking over the state’s data center responsibilities. "For the college, it’s an opportunity for faculty and students to be able to integrate with individuals from New York state’s IT workforce," he said, "and to develop new technologies, new processes, new systems for being able to deliver services efficently and cost-effectively."

The data center consolidation is part of Cuomo’s larger move toward efficient technology and government. When finished, the state’s entire IT infrastructure consolidation, including the data center move to the new 50,000-square-foot space, is projected to save $100 million annually. The new data center is planned to be a tier 3 data center, which indicates a 99.982 percent uptime, compared to a 99.671 percent availability promised by tier 1 data centers.

“To our knowledge, there is not another state in the nation that is addressing the need to provide effective, efficient, secure, reliable information to its citizens more effectively than New York,” Janack said, adding that this consolidation is going to expand the capabilities.

"Society is increasingly driven by technology," he said. "People want to access information on their phones, on their tablets, on their laptops, and the innovation piece that the college brings combined with the operational piece that the state brings, to the extent that they work in concert, I think you have a system being developed here that will be unparalleled in terms of delivering cost-effective and efficient services to its residents.”

Photo of data center consolidation announcement courtesy of CNSE

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.