Pennsylvania, a 'Fortune 20' state, consolidates IT

It has signed 7-year contract with Unisys worth $681M

Pennsylvania has signed a deal with Unisys to consolidate its data centers and create an on-demand, cloud computing environment. The just-announced seven-year deal was valued at $681 million by Unisys.

Pennsylvania, which describes itself as "the equivalent of a Fortune 20 organization," plans to consolidate seven data centers into two. Its current data center operation is described in planning documents as decentralized and lacking standard processes.

The state now has more than 53,000 square feet of raised data center floor space, some 6,000 servers and 2,700 TB of storage, according to request-for-proposals documents. The state's largest data center is 24,000 square feet; the smallest is 1,000 square feet.

Unisys has been providing IT services to the state since 1999 and helped it to reduce its data center footprint from 17 data centers to the current seven. Blue Bell, Pa. is also the location of Unisys' corporate headquarters.

The state is now spending about $180 million a year on data center services, and while it expects some savings as a result of the consolidation, Dan Egan, a spokesman for the state office of administration, said those savings will be offset by IT growth and new services.

"This contract gets out of the infrastructure business," said Egan.

Over the next 30 months, Unisys will turn one of its data centers, a 13,000 square-foot facility, into a backup and disaster recovery facility. The primary data center will operate in an existing Unisys data center in Virginia, said Egan.

IBM and Deloitte Consulting will be part of the project, which will include managed hosting for x86, Linux and AIX as well as mainframe support.

The contract calls for delivering computing resources on-demand via the cloud and will allow the state "to purchase services when we need them, giving us greater flexibility and efficiency while saving money," Tony Encinias, the state CIO, said in a statement.

State IT personnel will be affected by the consolidation. But Egan said officials hope to minimize any job impacts through retraining, redeployment or reduction through attrition over the 2.5-year transition.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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