State of Indiana

Data center consolidation, server virtualization and energy-efficient desktops save nearly $14 million.

When Gerry Weaver was hired as CIO for the state of Indiana two years ago, his mission was threefold: Dramatically improve IT service, reduce costs, and employ green initiatives wherever possible. At the time, the computing infrastructure was a patchwork of aging, nonstandard systems stretched across seven data centers.

By forming a centralized group, the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT), Weaver and his team have moved on their mission aggressively in the past two years. They have consolidated the seven data centers into one, plus a second for disaster recovery, while also reducing server count by one-third through virtualization.

Since many of the state's PCs were older models, it also upgraded 30,000 desktops to Dell machines using Intel Corp.'s vPro chip. That resulted in $400,000 in savings from a reduction in electricity use and an increase in productivity while reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.

The vPro enables IT to manage PCs over the network, eliminating the need to travel to the 800 sites the IOT serves. It is also Energy Star-compliant and provides power management capabilities such as an automatic power-saving mode. "If we can do something here versus two hours of drive time, we're happy," says Weaver.

In all, these moves have generated annual savings of more than $13.9 million. The IOT has been so successful, it's now discussing a pilot program in which it would invite other government entities to use some of its computing resources to eliminate some of their equipment and create further efficiencies.

The IOT motivates its employees by incorporating metrics for green accomplishments into performance-based pay. Chris Mines, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., agrees that the intertwining of "green and greenbacks" is a big motivator in today's economy.

"Because of alignment of green and green, I don't expect that these initiatives will slow down dramatically or get thrown in reverse," Mines says. "Green is increasingly embedded into how companies operate and live. But the motivator is cost."

Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at marybrandel@verizon.net.

Next: No. 7: KPMG's new data center is almost 75% energy-self-sufficient

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