Enterprise Operations Initiatives
During October’s Technology Exchange Forum the Operations group reported on a number of interesting initiatives in their area.
First is the announcement of Sharon Horne, who is joining the Operations team as Operations Manager of Application, Database, and Server. Sharon will working closely on these and other initiatives. She joins Bob Arbour, Operations Manager of Data Centers, who is currently leading the Data Center initiatives.
This group is working on a number of infrastructure consolidation initiatives aimed at streamlining operations and administration. Included in the list of consolidations are database licensing, storage devices and servers across state government. The consolidations involve coalescing applications and units to a fewer number of devices at a reduced number of locations.
The licensing of the state Oracle environments has been consolidated and has yielded a 60% discount. This represents a saving of $2,000,000!
We are in the process of moving three OIT storage devices to a single NAS Head solution. An additional five storage servers from Inland Fish & Wildlife, Marine Resources, Conservation and Maine Revenue Services are on deck to be merged next. As we bring together these devices, the group is looking at the poor performance of Access databases. CITRIX and SQL backend to the access front end are being evaluated. Theses moves are currently limited to areas with fiber connections only.
The CITRIX farm is in the process of being blended, leveraging what was the Labor CITRIX farm. Farms from DEP, DHHS, OIT and Conservation are in the process of being centralized. The other agencies with CITRIX will be evaluated and incorporated in the future. This move will result in savings on the licensing, server infrastructure and support cost.
The physical integration of servers across the enterprise is more methodical as issues to be surmounted are more complex. Of specific concern are network connectivity and performance. At present we are working on assembling an inventory of all servers and, in the meantime, are working with AITDs to set expectations on server management. As server licensing is renewed the group is re-examining the need for the devices taking it as an opportunity to leverage the integration effort. They are also addressing the reliance of single application servers by challenging vendors to be more open to using shared environments.
The virtual consolidation of servers with products such as VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server is also being explored. Both products are under evaluation. These products allow for multiple instances of operating systems to be hosted on a single box and pose a potential solution for applications that do not operate well in a shared environment.
For these efforts to succeed this group will need the support and input from all involved parties. Two new support groups are being formed to establish standards and polices as well as to develop plans going forward. The WINDOWS server support group has plans to meet November 8th. The invitation agenda will be out shortly. A UNIX support group meeting time will be announced at later date.