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Shared Services improves customer service and saves $2 million

By Cathy Gonzalez, Information Technology Shared Services

Michael DiPaolo, chief information officer, UNT SystemUser requisition of virtual servers is saving UNT System institutions more than $2 million and cutting deployment of the servers from weeks to minutes.

Technology allows for the consolidation of several physical computers, each running a single operating system and application(s), to fewer physical computers running one or more virtual servers on each physical computer.  

A recent case study published for CIO Executive Council members worldwide highlights this exemplary service improvement in UNT System’s IT Shared Services (ITSS) that centers around an IT solution titled “Virtual Server Services.”

Faculty, staff, and students are helped in various ways, but this is mostly transparent. Most would notice the difference is in the speed at which new IT services or applications can become available or the ability to move or restore existing services in case of a failure.

Craig Terrell, IT Shared ServicesThe old way to implement or replace hardware for IT services would involve budget and purchasing approval, procurement through a vendor with build and shipping times, racking and cabling of the hardware, network assignment, OS build and then application installation. This process can take upwards of six to eight weeks or more depending on the hardware required.

For an academic department that is working on research dependent on the new server, this can dramatically reduce the amount of time to receive the server.

 Also, with the ability to dynamically adjust resources on the virtual servers, service owners can request an upgrade to their server immediately to handle increases in traffic and typically apply them with just a short reboot of the service.

In the past, the upgrade process was costly, would take weeks to procure and required a lengthy outage to implement.  If more students are needing to access a web site or administrative employees are needing to access business services run on a virtual server, the upgrade to the server means they won’t be impacted by the increased demand.

The CIO Executive Council provides a noncompetitive, nonthreatening environment for CIOs to exchange information, discuss challenges and opportunities, and share experiences.

Top IT executives are able to engage in robust interactions in order to bring measurable value to their organizations and to support their professional development while being free of the distraction of vendors or commercial interests.

  • Find the case study, titled User Requisition of Virtual Servers Saves University Over $2M and Cuts Deployment from Weeks to Minutes.

The goal of the project for implementing the service was to implement full server virtualization using management and request tools that allow users to requisition their own virtual servers.  One the of the most dramatic outcomes of the successful implementation of the solution has been that deployment time for servers has gone from upwards of six to eight weeks to five to 10 minutes.

Equally impressive are the cost savings of $200,000 per year in power and cooling in the data centers, salary savings of approximately $120,000 per year from reduced server management costs, and about $2.3 million in capital savings for server hardware over the life of the project, which is expected to be five years.

The case study was submitted by Michael Di Paolo, above right, associate vice chancellor and CIO for the UNT System, who is a member of the CIO Executive Council and was written in conjunction with CIO Magazine writers as a PeerIntelligence document.

PeerIntelligence is practical insights for council members that combine real-world details of a case study with aggregate benchmarks from the council’s global survey.

Enterprise Systems Infrastructure Services Director Craig Terrell, below right, was the primary ITSS spokesperson during interviews for the study and led the team members responsible for the activities that created the work and savings described in the study.   

Posted on: Wed 07 November 2012

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