July 19, 2010 By Matt Williams
Photo: David Fletcher, Chief Technology Officer, Utah/Photo by Jonathan Higley
The Utah state government has fulfilled a summer 2010 deadline for consolidating its data centers. The new environment will allow the state to advance its government cloud.
The data center consolidation reduced the number of data centers in use by 26 Utah agencies from 35 to two: the state's primary data center in Salt Lake City and a failover site off of the Wasatch Range earthquake zone. From the planning phase to project completion, the consolidation took 18 months -- an aggressive time frame, state Chief Technology Officer Dave Fletcher told Government Technology.
Utah virtualized servers using VMware software at the same time it consolidated data centers. The process reduced the number of government-run servers from 1,864 to 591, a number that may decrease further in the future, Fletcher said. Because of this consolidated structure, the state eliminated 200 IT staff over the past four years -- almost all of them through attrition, Fletcher said.
Utah officials anticipate the consolidation and reorganization will save the state $4 million or more annually, he said. Much of the savings will come from reducing energy consumption.
"It's yielded lots of savings. It's probably something all states should do," Fletcher said.
Utah is one of several governments across the country that have gone public with plans to build a government cloud -- a shared computing and storage environment where state and local stakeholders will be able to pool their resources and share services from within the state data center. Utah CIO Steve Fletcher (no relation to Dave Fletcher) told Government Technology last winter that the Department of Technology Services would build a "hybrid cloud" that provides a mix of state-hosted services and commercially provided offerings -- all delivered through the department's IT Service Catalog.
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