San Francisco's data center is poised for a technology upgrade 

For a city so close to Silicon Valley, one would think San Francisco’s government would have an enviable technology system.

But for years, The City’s technology has been blasted as behind the times. The Police Department reportedly did not have e-mail until last year.

The City’s own data center — which supports payroll, e-mail, vital public safety information such as fingerprint data and departments’ websites — remains stuck in an inadequate facility that is prone to power failures and tampering, according to Department of Technology officials.

To improve the infrastructure, city officials plan to relocate the main data center at 1 Market St. to 200 Paul St. Doing so would allow The City to consolidate the hodgepodge of IT systems spread out among various departments. An Oct. 19 report by the Committee on Information and Technology  said a dispersed approach was wasteful and led to “duplicated support costs.”

The catch is that in order for The City to become less wasteful, it will have to spend more money.

It will cost 77 percent more per month to lease the new facility for a total of $1.93 million annually, an increase from the $1.09 million being paid to rent out the 1 Market St. location, according to Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s report on the proposal.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will vote on the deal Wednesday. Supervisor Carmen Chu, chair of the committee, said while a rent increase is “not something any of us want to see,” the new location seems to make the most sense long-term.

“If we move, it allows for the future of consolidation,” she said.

If all goes according to plan, the relocation is expected to be complete by Feb. 28.

And within two years, a consolidation of The City’s IT systems will have been completed, using the 200 Paul St. location and a second location at the airport.

It is unclear how much The City could save after servers are reduced along with other tech equipment.  

Rose has recommended the Board of Supervisors require a report every six months on the progress of consolidating IT “facilities, equipment and staff and the associated documented efficiencies and cost savings.”

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