By Tony Kontzer Print this article Print

Government agencies are using information technology to deliver more value without spending more money.


Like Utah, the state of Montana needed to transform its outdated data center, which was housed in the basement of a 1940s-era building that was a nightmare to secure and was plagued by antiquated, inefficient power and cooling resources. In 2005, incoming Governor Brian Schweitzer toured the data center and, according to CIO Dick Clark, declared, “Now I’ve got one more thing to worry about.”

Five years later, Clark’s staff had completed the migration to a new primary data center with top-of-the-line security, a strong foundation for future cloud computing initiatives and energy efficiency that other data center operators will envy.

The key to the reduced energy footprint is a component that’s brought the facility the most notice: a “heat wheel” from KyotoCooling that reduced cooling costs to between 7 cents and 12 cents for each dollar of electricity used—down from as high as $1.50. “I think it’s going to be the norm in the relatively near future,” says Clark.


New York City is also undergoing an ambitious data center renewal. Over the next four to five years, the city will consolidate more than 60 data centers—most of which are agency-specific—into a single data center environment that will likely be spread across two or three facilities. IBM will lead the first phase of the project, migrating the first six to 10 agencies into the new facilities.

Jim Fowler, first deputy commissioner of New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Tele-communications, says the $96 million effort will pay for itself by the time it’s completed, and that it will yield ongoing operational savings of $40 million a year through improved efficiencies, technology standardization and reduced staffing needs, along with lower power, cooling and real estate costs.

Fowler believes that agencies at all levels of government will be watching the project closely to learn anything that will help them with their own data center consolidations. “We have no choice but to be on the main stage because of our size and scope,” he acknowledges.

This article was originally published on 2011-04-06
Tony Kontzer is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.
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