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GCN : September 2014
VIRTUALIZATION Pennsylvania s newly awarded cloud-based IT infrastructure contract with Unisys Corp. builds upon the state s long-time focus on virtu- alization and interest in establishing an on-demand computing model. The state announced the estimated $681 million pact, which could span up to 10 years, on July 14. Under the agree- ment, Unisys will consolidate and trans- form seven state data centers into a re- source dubbed the Pennsylvania Compute Services (PACS) hybrid cloud. The data center consolidation phase will be completed in 30 months or less, ac- cording to Unisys. The Data PowerHouse contract, a managed services contract for the state s mainframe environment, will also be consolidated under the new contract. The consolidation-to-the-cloud project builds on the state s history in comput- ing. Tony Encinias, Pennsylvania s chief information officer, said Pennsylvania be- gan consolidating data centers in the late 1990s and started adopting server virtual- ization in 2009. Encinias called virtualization "a huge stepping stone" toward the current cloud effort and noted that the state s data cen- ters are 85 to 90 percent virtualized at this point, which will ease the task of migrat- ing to the new cloud environment. The state also operates hundreds of virtual machines. The adoption of cloud-based, on-de- mand computing services provides a firm- er economic footing for the state, Encinias said. The alternative: the capital expense of upgrading physical data center gear ev- ery few years. "You can t sustain, every four or five years, the incremental amount of money we would need to do the infrastructure re- freshment of data centers," he said. On-demand computing lets organiza- tions buy computing resources at the point of time at which they need them. Traditionally, IT departments purchased servers, storage and other IT components with an eye toward their capacity needs three to five years down the road. Encinias said the result would be that organizations would try to grow into IT capacity purchased in advance. But such over provisioning, he said, wastes money in creating idle resources waiting to be used. Pennsylvania is counting on the cloud contract to reduce costs through higher usage of just those resources needed to get the job done. Agencies that have periodic spurts of activity will be able to request ad- ditional resources to meet the immediate demand and then scale back when those resources are no longer required. The PACS hybrid cloud will use a IT Service Management (ITSM) framework, "based on ITIL-aligned processes for ser- vice request, change, incident, problem, service level, asset and configuration man- agement," said Reed Laughlin, vice presi- dent of the Unisys Pennsylvania team. Customers within state government will be able to order a range of offerings from a web-based service catalog. Initially, Unisys lineup of on-demand IT infrastructure services will include IBM and Unisys mainframe compute services, IBM AIX compute services, x86-based Windows, Unix and Linux compute servic- es, storage services and disaster recovery services, Laughlin said. "These services will be requested through a secure portal that provides the configuration options while maintaining the proper governances," said Michael Root, executive program lead in the Gov- ernor s Office of Administration. "We have all of the advantages of the cloud with quick delivery and flexible configu- ration while maintaining the governance and security demanded of a public entity like the commonwealth." • A $681 million pact with Unisys Corp. will build on the state's vision for establishing a foundation for virtualized services Pennsylvania plans for computing on demand BY JOHN MOORE 30 GCN SEPTEMBER 2014 • GCN.COM "You can't sustain, every four or five years, the incremental amount of money we would need to do the infrastructure refreshment of data centers." -- TONY ENCINIAS, CIO, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA