New York City: The IT Infrastructure That Never Sleeps

By Susan Nunziata  |  Posted 02-28-2011

New York City: The IT Infrastructure That Never Sleeps

New York City opened its new data center in downtown Brooklyn on Feb. 28, 2011. The 18,000-square-foot facility will enable the City to centralize the technology infrastructure of 40 agencies by the end of 2014. The consolidation will save the city roughly $100 million in that time frame, according to the city's Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), which operates as the city's IT utility.

To date, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment' IT operations, the Department of Sanitation's IT Service Desk, and the Department of Education's "HR Connect" application have been moved into the centralized environment. These systems alone support 140,000 users, and their consolidation will achieve a recurring annual savings of approximately $200,000, according to DoITT.  In addition, ongoing consolidation work at the Department of Finance and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services will realize several million dollars in incremental gains due to certain targeted migrations and investment deferrals, the City says.

In the next 12 months, 19 agencies will have their technology infrastructure centralized into the new data center.

The consolidation effort, known as the Citywide IT Infrastructure Services Program (CITIServ), aims to reduce New York City's IT infrastructure footprint. Other goals include:

  • Creating a unified set of shared IT services to New York City entities
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Strengthening IT security
  • Improving overall service quality for New York City agencies

"By reducing the IT work done by individual City agencies, we'll enable them to concentrate more of their resources on what they really do best: teaching students, protecting our neighborhoods, cleaning our streets, preventing and putting out fires, and doing all the other things that improve our quality of life," says New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in a prepared statement.

How New York City's CITIServ Program Works

In full, the CITIServ program offers:

  • Application Hosting Services: standard, dedicated and virtual hosting environments with a variety of service levels, processing and memory capacities;
  • Network Services: access to the City's wired network (CityNet), voice over internet protocol (VoIP), video conferencing, and New York City's wireless network;
  • Data and Storage Services: modern, flexible storage solutions for all hosted applications;
  • Collaboration Services: email with archiving, BlackBerry servicing, eFax, and instant messaging; and,
  • Citywide Service Desk: a 24x7, convenient, single point of contact for end users to address IT support needs, IT issue resolution, as well as ticket generation and easily accessible modern tracking tools.

To ensure timely and effective oversight for each aspect of the CITIServ effort, the program has defined seven key workstreams, each led by a single point of accountability, all of which are orchestrated via a central project management office. They are:

  1. Service Offerings: constructs and maintains a complete online catalog of IT services
  2. Service Delivery & Support: develops operational processes to provide future state IT services
  3. Transition Services: with agency collaboration, develops methodology and project timelines for agency migrations
  4. Technical Architecture & Facilities: identifies and develops appropriate facilities
  5. Financial Services: develops cost/benefit tracking and funding models
  6. Human Resources: provides cross-agency human resources and labor relations representation and planning
  7. Communications: works to keep all stakeholders apprised of CITIServ's projects, future plans, and shared achievements

The CITIServ fact sheet describes the undertaking as "a collaborative, multi-agency effort that employs rigorous and repeatable processes to ensure transparency and predictability to impacted agencies." The program entails three key steps:

  1. Agency Deep Dive Assessments: For each agency, the consolidation process starts with a "deep dive" assessment to evaluate the agency's current IT environment. Working closely with agency staff and leadership, agency processes and best practices are assessed and existing applications and assets are thoroughly inventoried. The assessment will identify where an agency's business needs can be aligned to specific services in the suite of DoITT's IT service offerings as well as establish baselines to  inform the project plan for an agency's migration into the CITIServ environment.
  2. Agency Migration Plan: Following the deep dive assessment, the CITIServ team works closely with agency staff and leadership to develop an appropriate timeline and schedule for migration. Migration schedules will account for agency peak operating periods and other circumstances and will be coordinated to ensure minimal disruption on agency operations.
  3. Agency Migration: Following the Migration Plans, DoITT will work with each agency to ensure an effective and seamless migration. Migrations may involve physical relocation of hardware, software and IT personnel to the DoITT CITIServ environment.

DoITT establishes the City's IT strategic direction, security policies and standards; procures citywide IT services, and evaluates emerging technologies; provides project management, application development and quality assurance services; maintains the City's official website NYC.gov, new media development and operations, and Geographic Information Systems; operates the City's data center, the dedicated wireless network, the wired network, the Citywide Service Desk, and telecommunications systems; administers telecommunications franchise contracts providing fiber, cable television, public pay telephones, and mobile telecom equipment installed on City property and streets; administers the 311 Customer Service Center; and fosters public-private partnerships to improve IT service delivery.