When we talk about establishing backup and disaster recovery sites, one often thinks of corporate data centers or building your own off-site data center. But the state of Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services didn’t have to look far for its backup site — it turned to its lone public university, the University of Hawaii’s Information Technology Center.
“By leveraging the UH data center, we are able to address some of our most critical systems while reducing duplicative spending, including costs associated with designing, building, maintaining, powering and staffing an entirely new data center,” said Todd Nacapuy, the state’s Chief Information Officer, in a news release from the university. “This agreement represents an annual cost avoidance that’s easily in the millions.”
The partnership, which was announced in March, reduces the risk of some of Hawaii’s aging IT infrastructure and also makes wise use of investment dollars the state is allocating to the University of Hawaii. State funding is part of the institution’s lifeblood.
According to the university, UH had to meet certain criteria around physical and digital security — as well as compliance requirements — in order to secure the partnership.
The UH IT Center’s data center is designed to operate through an extended power outage without any problems. In addition, the university agrees to put in place processes and procedures necessary for some state departments’ compliance obligations, such as those required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Justice Information Services and personally identifiable information standards.
The partnership between the state and UH is an example that might make sense for other states and universities where space is scarce, as it is on the Pacific island chain. By building a data center that supports not only the university but also the state’s IT operations itself, Hawaii is truly maximizing its technology investment to serve the state and its community well.
Watch the video below from the University of Hawaii to learn more about how the higher ed/state partnership came about.