Counties Future-Proof Their Data Centers

IT leaders tap unified computing, virtualization and cloud technologies to transform infrastructure.

Anyone who has undergone a home renovation knows that sense of relief and accomplishment at the project's completion. For public-sector leaders who have upgraded their IT infrastructure, the feeling of pride is just as great.

As with any home improvement or remodeling initiative, buyers face an endless choice of products depending on their needs and goals. Virtualization, unified infrastructure, cloud computing and colocation facilities all play a role in improving data center operations and reducing energy costs.

Faced with replacing 30 to 40 servers this year, San Joaquin County, Calif., wanted to future-proof its server and storage capacity. David Newaj, infrastructure manager for the county, selected a unified computing solution comprising Cisco Systems blade servers and switches, EMC storage and VMware virtualization software.

The tightly integrated components enable San Joaquin users to quickly spin up their own virtual servers. "It takes three minutes on a portal to submit the job, and within 10 minutes, they have a server up and ready. It's joined to the domain, passwords are emailed to them, and my server team is never involved in any way, shape or form," Newaj says.

In Multnomah County, Ore., virtualization replaced tape backup technology. CIO Sherry Swackhamer says the county uses VMware Site Recovery Manager and NetApp SnapMirror for application and data replication. If the main data center ever goes down, a colocation facility will keep the IT infrastructure running. "It's affordable, reliable and gives us more flexibility," she says.

For additional insight into how state and local governments are transforming their data centers and the benefits they're achieving, check out Local Governments Find Creative Ways to Modernize Their Data Centers.

Finding Fun

Seeking a way to get people's attention and engage citizens? Consider gamification, a technique that uses games or applies game elements to existing activities. The state of Michigan has boosted the effectiveness of its cybersecurity training by adding game-like elements to the online modules. For more examples of communities boosting interaction with their residents, see How Gamification Helps Local Governments Engage Employees and Citizens.

<p>Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock</p>
Oct 02 2013