Show-me state shows how to consolidate storage


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Multiple data centers
Nobody truly knows how much storage the 16 agencies had at the outset. Even now, some agencies may keep storage tucked in servers or as small SANs hidden from sight. At the start of the project, the data center managed 12TB of open-systems storage, reports Carter. Today, three years later, it hosts more than 200TB of open-systems storage, 10 times more than for mainframe operations.

To achieve the promised savings, the data center team has to squeeze every possible dollar out of its storage acquisitions. Two rules determine every choice: an agency can have whatever it wants for storage if it can pay for it, and dollars drive every decision. To date, "the consolidation activities have or will result in a total savings and cost avoidance of $52.3 million," reports Ross.

The Missouri state data center itself is the result of a consolidation effort that began years before Blunt made IT consolidation a priority. The initial consolidation involved only the state's biggest mainframe users. A second mainframe consolidation in 1996 pulled in the last of the state's mainframes. The current mainframe is IBM Corp.'s biggest--the System z10 configured for almost 6,000 general-purpose MIPS and another 3,000 MIPS from various assist processors.

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Colorado's consolidation plan
In 2008, the Colorado legislature passed a bill to consolidate the IT functions of 13 executive agencies to produce an IT group of 1,100 people with a $250 million budget. The consolidation, intended to roll out over four years, will be a logical consolidation leaving much of the IT physically dispersed. Led by state CIO Mike Locatis and deputy CIO John Conley, the team began extensive planning and preparation even before the bill became effective. Initial planning steps included the following:
  • Peer organizations. Spoke with counterparts in Missouri and other states.

  • IT employee input. Received input from 950 of the 1,100 employees to date, often at town meeting-styled gatherings and through a Wiki.

  • Attorney general. Clarified employment issues.

  • Agency heads. Discussed service-level agreements, as well as IT budgeting and billing.

  • Vendors. Sent new procurement procedures and expectations to product vendors in an effort to build committed relationships.

  • Asset inventory. Identified technology on hand, end-of-life state, lease expiration and refresh plans.
"If I were doing this again, I would take even more time to listen to employees," says Conley. "This is a massive change for employees."

This was first published in November 2008

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