The Metropolitan Utilities District plans to save at least $6 million over the next 10 years by moving most of its internal data center operations to the cloud.

Today, MUD operates two physical data centers. One is in the basement of its downtown office at 1723 Harney St. There’s another at its Platte West water treatment plant near 204th and Q Streets.

Consolidating those into the cloud — that catch-all term for a network of servers, data and software that can be accessed through Internet-connected devices — means the district could avoid about $2.5 million in expenses in 2018 alone, said Raied Stanley, the local gas and water utility’s vice president of information technology.

“We’ve come to the realization that we’re in dire need of a data center refresh,” Stanley said.

After recently taking stock of the company’s inventory of various software and hardware used to run those data centers, Stanley expects those costs to repeat every three to four years.

“I don’t want to spend that, nor does the IT department,” Stanley said.

The district’s board of directors on Wednesday agreed and unanimously approved the plan.

The cloud, in this case, is located just a few blocks away: First National Technology Solutions, which operates a secure data center at 16th and Dodge Streets, will manage MUD’s remote data center. The organization is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, the parent company of First National Bank of Omaha.

In other business, the board approved price changes to services provided by the district such as water and gas turn-ons.

MUD reviews its pricing every year and makes adjustments to compensate for factors such as wage increases for its employees and incentives to customers.

For example, the district in 2016 charged customers $108 to replace water meters that were installed below surface level in older homes. That price will increase on June 1 to $135, which MUD officials said is closer to the actual cost of the service.

cole.epley@owh.com, 402-444-1534

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