Washington’s “Taj Mahal” Data Center Bills Are Due

The capitol building in Olympia, Wash.

Washington state is still shopping its overprovisioned State Data Center, and there’s a new problem: the bills are coming due.

Rob St. John, director of Consolidated Technology Services for the state of Washington, told an appropriations committee last week that the state agency owes $12 million for fiscal year 2014 in order to simply pay for the data center, in addition to $10 million and change for facilities expenses, the build out, and additional project costs. Over the next two years, the State Data Center needs about $34 million in appropriations.

But the fundamental problem remains the same: a state-funded report by Excipio Consulting LLC (filed more than a year and a half ago) stated that the 50,000 square feet of data-center space in the Department of Enterprise Services’ complex is perhaps 10 times what the state actually needs. The $255 million site sits on Jefferson Street, a few blocks east of the state Capitol in Olympia, Wash.

“CTS can’t shoulder the burden for this,” St. John told the state appropriations committee last week, according to The News Tribune. House Appropriations Committee chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, referred to the state data center is “a Taj Mahal,” way overbuilt for what it seeks to do. While one would think that would lead to drastic change, so far that hasn’t happened.

More than half of the data center still hasn’t been built out—and, in apparent desperation, the state isn’t even looking to use that portion as a data center: although originally planned as a data center, data halls 3 and 4 are currently being examined as a occupational health and safety lab, St. John said, according to documents filed with the state. Data hall 1 is being used by the CTS itself, with the Washington State Police’s infrastructure sharing space. Data hall 2 has been built out—a project the state once hoped a tenant would shoulder. That didn’t happen.

A nearby data center, known as OB1, is still migrating equipment to the CTS facility, as had been scheduled last year. The equipment move was made because the servers at the OB1 facility overburdened its cooling and power infrastructure.

Broker Jones Lang LaSalle Americas was hired last year to shop the second data hall. Lee told The News Tribune that the CTS facility was the best data center in the state, but shopping it “would take time.”

St. John said CTS also is consolidating data centers in Thurston County as equipment wears out. Any “transfer” of other data-center services to CTS will happen via virtualization.

 

Image: Nadik/Shutterstock.com

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