January 11, 2010 By Steve Towns, Editor
Michigan has formally launched an initiative to build a massive new data center that will provide cloud computing services to state agencies, cities, counties and schools across the state.
The Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) -- in conjunction with the state's Department of Treasury and Department of Management and Budget -- issued a request for information (RFI) Jan. 7 seeking industry feedback on forming a public-private partnership to build and operate the facility.
"This marks another big step in our effort to establish high-tech investment in Michigan," said state CIO Ken Theis in a statement released by the MDIT. "A data center built through public-private partnership will allow all levels of government in Michigan to benefit, by getting the most of our taxpayer dollars."
The RFI seeks input from companies or teams of companies that are interested in financing, building and operating the new facility, as well as providing shared IT services to state agencies and others. The state is particularly interested in tapping alternative energy sources for the data center, according to the RFI.
"MDIT is proposing an extended contract, including an appropriate sharing of risks and responsibilities, for the new data center design, construction and maintenance with additional IT/operational services to be determined," the RFI said. "A public-private partnership is one potential delivery model for this solution."
In an earlier interview with Government Technology, 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 100,000-square-foot data center that would offer cloud-based application hosting and managed services to any public entity in Michigan.
In addition, the data center is being positioned as a magnet for technology-related economic development and as a potential alternative to offshore application hosting and storage for private companies. The state intends to break ground on the facility in October 2010.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.