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Wyo. to contract with data centers [Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne :: ]
[August 10, 2014]

Wyo. to contract with data centers [Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne :: ]

(Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 10--CHEYENNE -- Wyoming may be looking to get out of the business of managing and storing data.

State officials and lawmakers voted last month to accept a plan to spend $800,000 to begin a process where the state will, at least temporarily, contract with private data centers to meet some of its data needs.

The money will allow the state to move one of its data centers out of the Herschler Building and rent space from private firms to store and maintain the data.

The move was made because the Herschler Building, along with the adjacent State Capitol, are being prepared to undergo major renovations in the coming months. With space at a premium, officials were looking at options for moving the Herschler Building's data center to a different location.

Flint Waters, the state's chief information officer, presented the plan to contract with private data centers during a recent meeting of the Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group, which is made up of Gov. Matt Mead and several top lawmakers.

Waters said it is part of his long-range vision to look for outside help to manage the data that state government requires.

"In the long run, I believe it makes far more sense for us to partner with folks who manage data well as their full-time job rather than try to continue to expand our walls out to capture all the data that the state is going to need," he said. "This accelerates (our plans) dramatically, and it changes our sequence, but it very much fits within our plan." Waters said this is because data demands will soon outpace the state's ability to meet those needs.

"It's been my belief that the amount of data that state government is going to see over the next 10 years is going to grow exponentially," he said. "With all the devices that are going to be accessible, we are going to see medical devices that people have on them that submit data, we are going to have clothing that submits data, and there is a massive amount of data captured on your mobile devices.

"It's been my belief for some time that in the long run, the state won't be able to expand those walls and keep up with the data coming in." Waters added that the state is also seeing a fair amount of private data centers expanding in the state.

Cheyenne's Green House Data, for example, completed its 35,000-square-foot, $35 million facility expansion last week.

"It is a great opportunity for us to partner with these entities," Waters said, "and partner with them in a way that no one entity controls the state's solutions." The plan also calls for an annual cost of $1.5 million. But that includes about $950,000 a year in power costs that the state would pay regardless of where the data is managed.

Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, who is a member of the Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group, said he agrees with the direction to look for alternatives, including cloud computing, to meet the state's data needs.

"We just can't continue to grow and build and add," he said. "The cloud is the future -- at least that is my humble opinion." Waters said the plan is to enter into a three-year contract for private data centers to accommodate the move out of the Herschler Building. He said the state can then determine its long-term data storage plans.

"We are going at it with an approach that we are only on a three-year commitment," he said. "We are able over that life cycle, those three years, to prove the concept. Then we can have long-term discussions based on our business case and future visits with the Legislature on where do we go for long-term data center operations: Do we build, do we lease, do we go to the cloud?" Mead said he plans to take the $800,000 out of the $259 million that the Legislature approved last year for the State Capitol and Herschler Building renovation projects.

Lawmakers suggested that the Joint Appropriations Committee could determine the source of the funding for the annual costs when the group considers the supplemental budget requests before next year's legislative session.

___ (c)2014 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.) Visit Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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