Texas bills would downsize state's data centers, mandate cloud
Published: February 21, 2019
Cloud ComputingCloud ComputingContract AwardsContracting TrendsData CenterGeneral Government ServicesGEORGIAHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (TEXAS)ILLINOISInformation TechnologyInformation TechnologyPolicy and LegislationSENATE, TEXAS (TEXAS)TECHNOLOGY AUTHORITY, GEORGIA (GEORGIA)TEXAS
Texas lawmakers will consider two bills that would shrink the state’s two data centers and compel agencies on cloud platforms.
Two bills have been introduced in the Texas state legislature that seek to shrink the state’s data centers and encourage agencies to use cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Concerns have arisen that the cost of maintaining the two data centers have skyrocketed over the past decade, and lawmakers have not had oversight over how technology officials awarded the contract to manage these facilities.
One bill, SB 819, would have state agencies consider cloud computing service options when making technology purchases, and also consider cloud options when developing new IT software applications. HB 1096 would create a fund to be used for replacing IT systems, including transitioning legacy systems to a cloud computing service.
Texas’ two data centers are currently operated by Atos, which took over in 2015 when it acquired Xerox’s IT outsourcing division. This includes a preexisting contract awarded to manage these data centers awarded in 2011. Texas DIR agreed to the transfer of the contract, but given the high value of the $1.5 billion contract, lawmakers felt they should have had a chance to weigh in. These concerns may be founded, considering the two-year cost of operating the data centers has grown from $278 million to $489 million within a decade.
Over time, state agencies have been gradually moving from their own storage to the two data centers, with 75% of state agency data at one of these two sites. However, moving to cloud storage could be the next step in Texas’ data strategy. Georgia recently awarded a contract to Unisys for a hybrid storage storage platform, and Illinois is in the process of moving to its own hybrid system as well.