The Hartford Plans $100M Boulder Data Center

The Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) plans to build a $100 million backup data center in Boulder, Colorado.

The Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) plans to build a $100 million backup data center in Boulder, Colorado, company executives said yesterday in a conference call with analysts. The Hartford, one of the largest property-casualty insurers, said the new Boulder facility will be built and managed by IBM, which currently runs the company's primary data center in Hartford, Connecticut. The new facility will provide disaster recovery and keep the company's operations running if the Hartford data center were knocked offline. The company's plans were outlined today in The Hartford Courant.

The Hartford's announcement comes as analysts are closely watching the financial sector for indicators about whether banks and insurers will continue to expand their data center networks. Wall Street has been hit hard by losses in the subprime mortgage market, which apparently prompted HSBC to rethink its timeline for a major data center project in New York state. The Hartford's announcement suggests that any chilling effect on IT spending may be limited to firms with the largest exposure to subprime losses.

In yesterday's conference call, the Hartford said it anticipated core profits of $9.80 to $10.20 a share for all of 2008. The Thomson Financial analysts' consensus was $10.51 a share, but the impact on the company's shares was modest. HIG shares closed down 88 cents at $93.30 a share Monday in a rising market, as the Dow gained 101 points.

IBM has a major data center in Boulder, and earlier this year announced plans for an $86 million expansion of the facility that will add 80,000 square feet of technical and incorporate IBM's latest energy-efficient technology. At the time, IBM said the project would be supported by a $480 million, five-year agreement with a "major new U.S. customer account." In January the Hartford announced a five-year agreement to outsource its data center operations to IBM.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) plans for the Boulder data center include high density computing systems utilizing virtualization technology, along with its Cool Blue portfolio of energy efficient power and cooling technologies. IBM has also been awarded incentive funding by both the State of Colorado and the City of Boulder.