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By GCN Staff

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Montana maxes out IT deals with western neighbors

Montana is doing what other states with a modest tax base in a flat economy would do well to imitate: lean in toward regional neighbors facing similar conditions, set up arrangements to share high-cost services and use the available IT infrastructure to link resources together.

Lately the state has entered agreements with nearly a half-dozen western states, setting up a foundation for future technology sharing, Government Technology reports.

Montana’s agreements include:

  • A mutual  disaster-recovery agreement between Montana’s and Idaho’s  revenue departments that provides for broader future technology sharing. The deal allows the states to share personnel in the event a disaster shuts down tax processing in either state. It also sows trust between the offices that helps clear the way for future "modules," Montana revenue director Dan Buck told GovTech.
  • A disaster-recovery agreement with Oregon that could also expand technology sharing, according to state officials. The plan is hard-wired: it sets up a shared disaster recovery site that is linked via a 10 gigibits/sec network to data centers in each state. Additional projects might include mainframe disaster recovery and storage sharing between the states, Montana chief technology officer Stuart Fuller told GovTech.
  • Agreements with labor departments in Nevada, Michigan and Arkansas to extend a shared Web hosting service to other states. The project gives each state its own customizable website interface.

Montana is also a member of the Western States Contracting Alliance, which has set up a series of contracts to Dell, Dewberry, Esri and Unisys to host GIS public cloud hosting services. But the deal is likely to lead beyond GIS management.

"Part of what we learned in the RFI process was that [cloud hosting] was bigger than GIS," Robin Trenbeath, Montana’s geographic information officer, told GCN.

Posted by Paul McCloskey on Jan 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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