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The power of information technology unification

Monday, May 01, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY — Strong storms toppled trees and knocked out power at the Capitol this weekend but didn’t shut down the security of and access to important data housed with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services at its Information Services Data Center.

Thanks to a plan that includes using up to four 1,450-horsepower generators cranking out 1,000 kilowatts of power, the power remained on at the Data Center and the data flowing through servers connected with more than 100 state agencies remained safe and accessible.

“This weekend’s storms demonstrated another success of IT consolidation, keeping the state online during a power outage,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger, who serves as director of OMES.

“While storm damage is never a good thing, it did show that the emergency systems we’ve put in place worked to secure and keep the state’s data online during an outage,” he said. “If agencies haven’t unified their IT with OMES yet, this just shows one more advantage of doing so.”

When the power went out around the Capitol over the weekend, it was hardly noticeable at the OMES Information Services Data Center, where generators kicked into gear and kept the state online.

“There was enough fuel on hand to keep the power on for up to eight days,” said Oklahoma Chief Information Officer Bo Reese. “This is an important aspect of IT unification. This building and our backup systems allow another layer of protection during an emergency situation.”

The generators can fire and produce maximum power in seconds if there is an electrical issue. Servers at the Information Services Data Center are housed in a secure environment, data is backed up off site in a secure location, and the critical functions of the building are built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph.

“Having these types of protections and redundancies in place is an important part of IT unification,” Reese said. “The storm over the weekend proved a successful test of our systems.”

Unification, legislatively mandated by HB 1304 in 2011, partners agencies with OMES to streamline and consolidate IT efforts. By the end of fiscal year 2017, 78 mandated agencies, and more than 30 voluntary (nonappropriated) state agencies, will have been brought under one IT umbrella at an estimated reduced spending and projected savings of about $130 million.

Other successes of unification include an increased ability to protect the state’s unified networks and systems as a whole against cyberattacks; increased purchasing power that saved the state about $46 million in FY 16; and quicker response times and less system downtime with 24/7 monitoring that can spot problems in their infancy, sometimes before an agency even knows they have a problem.

More information on the generators can be found at Spotlight: Powering Up. More information on unification can be found in the OMES Information Services Quarterly Reports.

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