March 22, 2009 By Hilton Collins
When Patrick Quain -- CIO of the Arizona Department of Administration's Information Services Division -- speaks, people listen. In the mid-2000s, he sold other state CIOs and IT managers on the idea of a five-year ITIL project to establish and maintain data center best practices. The endeavor set off a wave of server consolidation activity throughout Arizona government.
The ITIL concept -- a set of books advising people how to run IT infrastructure and development -- was developed in the 1980s by the British government and has undergone different iterations over the years. Quain pitched his IT colleagues on the idea during 30-minute biweekly meetings.
Quain, who joined Arizona government in 2005, said, "The state was 20 years behind private industry. I came out of 40 years of private industry running data centers, so when I came to the state and I saw what they had, I'd say, 'We did that 20 years ago.'"
After the department refurbished its data center as part of the ITIL initiative, other departments began asking to move their servers inside to take advantage of the powerful generators, floor space, network and battery-backup capabilities.
"As time went on, it became evident that we were in the business of server consolidation," he said. Quain created a document outlining the advantages of consolidating multiple departments' equipment into the data center and presented it to Gov. Janet Napolitano and her Cabinet. Twenty-two agencies moved into the data center and 20 more plan to.
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