Cities increasingly utilizing the cloud for disaster recovery services


With state and local governments increasingly feeling the pressure to streamline IT operations to control costs and enhance performance, a growing number of cities are beginning to pursue the most up-to-date tools and hardware architectures to modernize their data centers.

At the same time as there is an emphasis on physical devices, city IT managers and CIOs are also utilizing the cloud in their data center renovations. Instead of using tight budgets on new data center facilities, cities are able to implement pay-as-you-go cloud services to consolidate data and programs from different government agencies in an effective way. Many local agencies are employing the cloud to handle spikes in data center workloads, or as a backup service or a disaster recovery utility.

Under the supervision of CIO Vijay Sammeta, the city of San Jose is implementing plans to use the cloud as a backup mechanism for the city’s critical IT infrastructure. In the next 12 to 18 months San Jose will be transitional virtual machines to the cloud and using the technology to manage various applications, as well as for backup and disaster recovery services.

“When you think about all the components of a highly available service delivery stack: network, servers, database and the applications, it starts [to] make a lot of sense to simply let someone else worry about that and just build redundancy to the Internet,” said Sammeta.

The cloud an alternative to physical facilities
The city of Asheville, North Carolina has also turned to the cloud for its disaster recovery plan. The city was set to build a $200,000 disaster recovery center as part of a fire station construction project, but it never came together so Asheville needed a plan B. Utilizing the cloud allows the city to enter disaster recovery mode only when it is critically necessary. The ability to scale for need saves Asheville thousands of dollars a year as compared to the cost of maintaining hardware in a physical facility. With the new system, the city is also able to encompass a number of applications into the disaster recovery plan that were previously uncovered.

In Michigan, Oakland County is using the cloud to supplement its overworked data center facilities, according to CIO Phil Bertolini. Implementing a cloud infrastructure allows the county to transition some systems to the cloud, taking computing pressure off of the data centers’ servers. The town of Newington, Massachusetts is also getting in on the cloud craze, implementing services to extend the city’s business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.