Exploring Green IT

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 2009-04-13 Print this article Print

All levels of government are using green IT, Web services and data management to better serve citizens and, hopefully, save money in the process.

Numerous government agencies are exploring green IT. At Fort Carson, near Colorado Springs, Colo., for example, the U.S. Army is using a software solution from Enviance to track and reduce emissions from buildings, jeeps, and other military property and equipment to lessen the impact on the ozone layer. Fort Carson officials see the Internet-based SaaS system as a way to comply with a federal mandate to reduce emissions by no less than 30 percent by 2015.

The overwhelming majority of green initiatives center on virtualization—with respect to both server and desktop consolidation. One agency that has benefited from this technology is the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections (DOC). In the agency’s Southwest District, the IT budget is tight, and the cost of providing Dell desktops for every parole officer has been straining resources. So the district has launched a desktop virtualization project with NComputing.

Today, eight offices spread throughout the district are using virtualized desktops, allowing up to six users to share a single computer. The solution has been so successful that the agency is considering expanding it to the prison library system, which would save costs on providing desktop services to inmates.

“Our IT budget is nil, and this allows us to save $400 to $500 per seat,” says Brian Thomas, the DOC’s information systems network management specialist who launched the project. “No one is using the full capacity of a computer at any given time, so this enables us to get the most out of every computer bought. We could put up to 10 users on each computer, but we’re keeping it to six for now to see how it works out. So far, it’s been working out better than we expected.

“While going green is a great idea, it’s a by-product benefit here. Frankly, we really needed to cut costs, and that’s exactly what this solution allows us to do.”

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

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