USEC Puts Energy Into Virtualization

During the last few years, a growing number of IT executives have found themselves scrambling to deal with skyrocketing data growth rates and overburdened data centers. However, when an organization depends heavily on information technology to handle the business of producing and selling enriched uranium to nuclear power plants, efficiency is everything.

“Our internal IT operations are vital,” states David Vordick, CIO of USEC, a $1.6 billion nuclear fuel company headquartered in Bethesda, Md. “They determine whether or not we are a success.”

USEC, which supplies enriched uranium to more than half of the U.S. market and more than a quarter of the world market, has more than 2,900 employees scattered among five U.S. locations. The company also operates three major data centers in Kentucky, Maryland and Ohio.

The foundation for its business, Vordick says, is an ability to manage operations—including an assortment of internal processes—effectively. Agility and high availability are more than buzzwords at USEC: They’re the foundation for success.

That’s why, in July 2005, the company turned to server virtualization to optimize systems and lower costs. It now has virtualized about 36 percent of its 400 physical servers. As IT retires older systems, USEC is migrating the servers to a virtualized environment.

The gains have been substantial, according to Vordick. Previously, the company achieved only a 10 percent utilization rate on servers. Today, the figure is approaching 30 percent, and he expects it to rise even further in the months ahead.

“Virtualization is changing the way we approach IT,” Vordick explains. “We’re able to manage systems better and get new systems up quickly. It provides us with a great deal of flexibility.”