How to Shrink The Data Center: 4 Lessons Learned

The business that manages New York City's hospitals consolidates 11 data centers into two facilities, dispensing with two-thirds of their physical servers for a predicted savings of $70 million over 5 years. Consider these four tips.

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3. Better service through standardization

Enforcing better standardization during the consolidation process has resulted in greater efficiency. The IT team has improved security and disaster recovery for the NYC HHC because complexity has been reduced, says Robles. Patches and maintenance can be distributed much more efficiently because the standards allow automation.

"There are huge efficiencies where we can do more with less, because we are not doing repetitive tasks, for multiple machinery, systems and applications," says Robles. "Now we can manage large-scale application environments and the machines that they are hosted on in a much more efficient way."

NYC HHC estimates that the company has improved efficiency by a factor of 10 in the past three years.

"You need to build it and show people that you can manage it efficiently," Robles says.

4. Don't forget the help desk

As part of the overall consolidation effort, the information technology team brought together the HHC's 15 disparate enterprise help desks into a single facility using the same monitoring tools and ticketing systems. Compared to before the consolidation, support issues are resolved more quickly, says Michael Keil, assistant VP of the service management office. In many cases, the help desks lacked 24-hour service. HHC sees about 18,000 calls a month, and expects that to increase to 35,000 — with about 85 percent of calls becoming a ticket.

"Everyone is looking at the same servers and the same data," Keil says. "You need to build it and show people that you can manage it efficiently as an enterprise-class tool."

Using BMC's Remedy IT Management Service Suite, NYC HHC supports its 20,000 users of its medical records system. Started in 2009, the help desk consolidation will save more than $1 million annually. The healthcare system expects to finish the consolidation by June of this year.

"We have one single source of truth now," Cush says. "Before, you had all these disparate systems all doing the same thing. Now you have a single service desk you can go to for information."

The consolidation will not stop at the data centers and the help desk, however. The healthcare network has 2,900 databases, which it has started on normalizing as part of the second stage of its consolidation process.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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