A Cloud Success Story: How Moving Infrastructure to the Cloud Saved This Town $80,000 Per Year

75% Percentage of state CIOs who say cloud computing will change their roles

SOURCE: “A New C4 Agenda: Perspectives and Trends from State Government IT Leaders (NASCIO, October 2011)

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Stormy weather prompted a move to the cloud for the summer vacation hot spot of Holden Beach, N.C. Since migrating to IT infrastructure as a service four years ago, the town saves about $80,000 per year while improving continuity of operations.

The island boasts 575 permanent residents and 3,500 rental properties, says Town Manager David Hewett, who notes that Holden Beach homeowners expect high-quality service from the local government. "With our private cloud, I don't have to worry about fixing the file server if it crashes," he says. "I can concentrate on making sure the water bills go out on time and on interfacing with the public."

Holden Beach previously ran its public safety and administrative applications on a single file server that had to be carted off the island in case of a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster. Now the town purchases its IT service from a private data center located 80 miles away in Wallace, N.C., spending about $20,000 per year. The solution is based on Microsoft Hyper-V.

"I couldn't replicate the level of IT service we are receiving for less than $100,000 a year," Hewett says. "With the private cloud, I don't need a dedicated technician. I don't have to have servers. I don't have to replace my servers every three years. I don't have to pay for upgrades on the software."

In addition to the cost savings, Holden Beach has a better disaster recovery plan with its private-cloud approach. After evacuating to an emergency operations center inland after three large storms, everything worked as planned, and staff had access to their virtual desktops. "Without fail, everything worked great," Hewett says.

Holden Beach recently deployed Microsoft Lync Voice over IP on the private cloud to enhance its ability to respond to absentee property owners during storms. "They don't care if the wind is blowing 150 miles an hour. They're sitting in front of the Weather Channel, and they want mass communication about the conditions here."

Voices

Randy Manley

"We're providing much greater service levels [with our private cloud–based Internet services]. The reliability is better. The continuity of operations plans are more robust. Disaster recovery is better."

—Randy Manley, Systems Manager, Snohomish County, Wash.

 

Brendhan Zubricki

"We can partake of more professional and more robust IT services for less money than doing it on our own. I'm hoping to save as much as 25 percent per year on IT with a private cloud [from another local government]."

—Brendhan Zubricki, Town Administrator, Essex, Mass.

 

Pao Vang

"We have a Microsoft Hyper-V cluster that we use to provide virtual servers for the departments that we support. To our customers, all they know is that we are hosting their servers and their applications. Any time they have an issue or a problem, we take care of it."

—Pao Vang, Project Manager, Milwaukee

Sep 21 2012