Pittsburgh moves IT infrastructure to Google Cloud
Pittsburgh today announced a $ 4 million pilot partnership with Google Cloud to migrate its legacy IT infrastructure to the cloud.
The migration work is expected to take around a year of the four-year contract, said Heidi Norman, acting director of the city’s Ministry of Innovation and Achievement. The move will take place in three phases. The first involves moving IT tools and applications that the department uses to monitor and manage the infrastructure. Then computing and storage capacity is provided, followed by lifting and moving other local applications to the cloud. The migration will help the Department of Innovation and Achievement support the city’s 19 departments in creating and scaling up community-based services for mobility, transportation, infrastructure, public safety and more.
“I think it will add a lot of value to my department’s ability to help our colleagues deliver services to the community,” Norman said of the migration.
The first phase focuses on ensuring that the underlying servers are running securely in the cloud. “We are migrating databases that run in the cloud so that data management is secure and replicated. This means there is no single bug anywhere and always available 24/7, ”said Andrew Moore, vice president of engineering and general manager for cloud, artificial intelligence and industry solutions at Google Cloud.
By moving data analytics tools into the second phase, the city will be able to expand smart city initiatives and achieve operational efficiencies, Moore said. “We plan to be able to build analysis and data science solutions for the city on the infrastructure,” he said.
One smart city initiative already in place is ParkPGH, which the Pittsburgh Cultural District developed in 2010 to let drivers know where parking is available in real time. “The departments that provide services directly to our residents are constantly thinking about how they can offer improved technology-based services. When they take on these new projects, my innovation and performance department will be able to really help them with the computation, storage and use they need, ”said Norman.
She expects the city to derive three main benefits from the project:
Easier scalability. “Because our resident-facing departments – the departments that provide services directly to our community – need computing capacity or storage capacity, we can scale the capacity of these things very quickly in ways that they cannot really achieve with on-premise. Servers do. “
Improved infrastructure security. “The security required for local data centers is particularly difficult given the financial constraints our city is facing, along with most cities in the country today. That will be a huge asset.”
Advanced data services. “We’re really going to reduce and modernize our data services in the cloud. [allowing] for improved and accessible analytics and data-driven management for all departments in the city. “
Moore said other benefits include cost avoidance and public safety support. “By moving information technology infrastructure from large and difficult-to-maintain on-premise solutions to the cloud, we can make significant savings for the city of Pittsburgh,” he said, although Norman found she could not quantify how much. “At the same time, we can increase the reliability of the underlying infrastructure, which will be particularly useful in safety-critical areas,” said Moore. “We’ll be able to help in places like the police [and] Fire to make sure the data is available with very low latency whenever it is needed. “
Google and the city came to an agreement through an unusual procurement process in which the company reached out to the city with a plan to address the issues with aging systems. The city and Google worked together last summer to rapidly increase storage capacity. It was then that the team learned of the limitations and challenges Pittsburgh was facing with its IT systems, Norman said.
Last fall, Google reached out to their office with an offer to migrate their infrastructure to the cloud, and Pittsburgh agreed.
“We thought about moving to the cloud, but like most other local or even county governments, we thought about how we could afford to make a gradual move over several years,” said Norman. “Google flipped that formula and we’ll be able to do it all in a single year.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia.