A Work in Progress

You don’t have to look far to find homage to the importance of green initiatives. From Hollywood to government to the media, it’s captured the national spotlight. And necessarily, it’s top of mind for many IT staffers in the public sector where green initiatives have been a mandate for years.

In many public sector organizations, going green is almost old news, though that doesn’t mean that the recent media blitz isn’t a welcome shot in the arm. Take North Carolina for example: The state’s energy office began working on this issue 15 years ago as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. That program, which started with conservation-minded programs to reduce the usage of electricity and fossil fuels, also includes reducing energy consumption in computing environments and recycling used computer equipment.

In “Cool, Green Glow” on Page 28, we examine environmentally conscious IT initiatives, like those in North Carolina, that have captured attention not only for their conservation efforts but also for their ability to reduce costs. In Riverside, Calif., the city government reduced its power consumption, cooling costs and space requirements by 27 percent as part of a server consolidation and virtualization project. The business case of whittling its server farm from 220 servers down to 160 netted out to hardware savings of $1.5 million. The reduction in energy consumption from not having to power or cool the data center was the icing on a pretty sound business case.

The central theme that’s propelling success in the organizations StateTech profiled is that their green initiatives make good business sense: They are good for the environment and the taxpayer’s wallet.

IT Gumption

The momentum continues to grow toward broadband networks based on the 802.16 standard better known as WiMAX. It competes against DSL and fiber optic, and a number of organizations think it might help address the sticky problem of the “handoff” between overlapping governmental jurisdictions. For some cities in remote locations like the Appalachian mountains, WiMAX offers to bridge wide ranges of terrain that wouldn’t be feasible to cover (from a cost and manageability perspective) if the same access was provided via fiber-optic cabling. For other municipalities, WiMAX partnerships are providing the means to equip government agencies with wireless, while also generating revenue by offering paid network access to citizens. “Discovering the Wonders of WiMAX,” on Page 38, looks at this trend.

Another interesting StateTech article delves into planning for a disaster, or rather how to recover from one. Agencies across the country recognize that disaster recovery is a work in progress. Once a plan gets put on paper, unfortunately, it also becomes somewhat obsolete as new systems come online and the network architecture changes to meet new business processes. In “Bracing for the Unknown” on Page 42, StateTech looks at how the Louisiana Supreme Court managed to get its systems online fairly quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Lee Copeland, Editor in Chief

Jul 03 2007