IT consolidation continues to take center stage as state and local governments seek to reduce costs and create economies of scale. Research from the National Association of State CIOs shows consolidation ranks as state CIOs' second-greatest priority, behind only budget and cost control. Actually, the two strategies go hand in hand -- the former helps organizations achieve the latter.
Blade servers, virtualization, thin clients and unified communications play a starring role in IT consolidation initiatives. Take the city of Chesapeake, Va., which rolled out a combination storage area network/network attached storage device, VMware vSphere and HP blade servers to consolidate storage and servers. That move reduced energy costs and freed up valuable space in the data center, says CIO Peter Wallace.
And Livingston County, Mich., has migrated nearly all of its applications to VMware, improving its continuity of operations and redundancy. Local government leaders share the success of their consolidation projects in "Downsizing the Data Center."
But it's not just the data center. Centralization and consolidation are taking place everywhere, from the network operations center to the wiring closet.
At this time last year, the city of Stevens Point, Wis., was saddled with a legacy Centrex system that was approaching end of life. It also lacked a fiber backbone to link nine of its facilities in a centralized manner, notes Joel Lemke, public works director.
But today, Stevens Point has a new fiber backbone network that carries unified communications traffic. The city's Cisco CallManager UC deployment has rung up impressive benefits, including reduced phone and Internet costs; enhanced productivity; and easier adds, moves and changes of phones and workstations.
Lemke appreciates the consistency of offering users the same calling capabilities regardless of location. And best of all, the city's upgraded network infrastructure and UC system open it up to unlimited possibilities, he says.
Like Stevens Point, many other localities are tuned in to the cohesion that UC provides. Howard County, Md., and the Portland Water District in Maine turned to UC for different reasons, but both are reaping the rewards. To learn how public-sector organizations ramped up their integrated telephony rollouts, read "Phone Check."
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