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Indiana Office of Technology partners with IU for IT disaster recovery site

July 9, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) and Indiana University have signed an agreement for IU to provide backup data center space and network connectivity to the state. The partnership takes advantage of IU's information technology staff and its IT infrastructure -- the I-Light high-speed network and the data center at IU Bloomington -- to provide critical redundancy and save money for the state. It also serves as a basis for further partnership and collaboration between the state and IU.

"From day one of Governor Daniels' administration, we have been working to secure a real disaster recovery solution, which the state did not have. Our review of public and private solutions in Indiana and around the world led us right back to Indiana University. No one could match IU on cost, flexibility or reliability," said state Chief Information Officer Gerry Weaver. "Coupled with AT&T, we are able to have a level of redundancy that will allow us to reroute network connectivity in a way that most disaster recovery solutions do not include. And, by running this particular service on I-Light, we don't have all our 'eggs in one basket' when it comes to the recovery of critical state services."

The agreement facilitates the state's goal of business continuity in the face of a major disaster or commonplace event such as equipment failure by establishing a "hot site" that allows IOT to continue operations for critical IT services if the primary center in Indianapolis become unavailable. The agreement leverages the strengths from both organizations to provide facilities and high-speed network connectivity and provides IOT the flexibility to change and test configurations.

"Partnerships and efficient collaboration are essential elements of IU's IT strategy," said Brad Wheeler, IU's chief information officer. "This disaster recovery agreement makes wise use of Indiana's investments in the I-Light network and skills at IU."

In a time when disaster preparedness is of major concern to all institutions, the partnership provides the additional space, knowledge and equipment necessary to ensure that state systems are functional in the face of emergency.

"Disaster preparedness is an important goal for any organization as indicated by several nationwide surveys that list this as one of the top concerns of CIOs," said Dennis Cromwell, associate vice president for enterprise infrastructure at IU. "The agreement provides IOT with space, network connectivity and access to equipment for testing. The relationship with IU will also be helpful as IU staff can assist the state in the event of a true disaster."

Under the agreement, the state will replicate data and maintain redundant equipment in the IU facility. The state can then switch operations to the equipment in Bloomington should their primary equipment in downtown Indianapolis become unusable. Critical IT operations can be restored with minimal loss of data and processing. Key to this is the arrangement with the Indiana GigaPoP -- a state and regional network 'point of presence' -- that will manage network connectivity through I-Light, the statewide high-speed optical fiber network.

"The state's investment in I-Light, Indiana's high-speed higher education network, will again pay dividends for Indiana as it provides the means to mirror critical data and IT functions at geographic distance and ultra-fast data recovery," said Dave Jent, associate vice president for networks at IU.

Jent added that he expects to see the same kind of benefits of collaboration among IU and the state that I-Light has made possible among higher education institutions in Indiana.

The agreement demonstrates a commitment from the state and IU to collaborate where appropriate and to extract maximum value from existing IT infrastructure, thus providing benefit to the state's taxpayers.

The equipment will be installed in existing data center space in Bloomington, but it will be moved to the new center currently being built. Groundbreaking for IU's new data center facility will take place in August. As institutions such as IU and the state rely more and more heavily on information technology infrastructure for business continuity, disaster-tolerant data centers such as the one being built at IU are a key component for quality business services.

Created by Gov. Daniels on his second day in office, IOT is the centralized information technology service provider for Indiana's state government. As a result of the consolidation of state government IT, IOT is saving more than $13 million annually, with increases in both security and service.

IU is one of the oldest state universities in the Midwest and also one of the largest universities in the United States, with more than 110,000 students, faculty and staff on eight campuses. IU has a national reputation in the areas of information technology and advanced networking.