Bracknell virtualises to save cash on hardware, power

VMware has been incorporated into the IT infrastructure of Bracknell Forest Borough Council, with hardware savings and power reduction results.

The council has used VMware's virtualisation and management platform, VMware Infrastructure 3, to drive down operating costs and allow it to be more flexible. It will also accelerate delivery of new applications and services to over 115,000 residents in central Berkshire.

The services rolled out on VMware include an Integrated Children Services (ICS) system and Pericles, which is a government-sector revenues and benefits application that will allow the council to streamline its council tax and benefits and payment processes.

The council's decision to use VMware came after an audit of its infrastructure, which found that its server farm was running at only around 10 per cent of capacity.

According to Richard Dawson, IT services manager at Bracknell Forest Borough Council, this spurred the council to streamline its operations and boost utilisation using virtualisation.

"We started to look at this issue back in 2007 when we realised that we had a large server estate," he said.

"As a result, over the past six months there has been some vast consolidation. We have six main VMware servers and we're running 146 other VMware servers."

The utilisation of VMware has not only seen a reduction in costs but also has had an environmental impact on the council, according to Dawson.

"We've seen a 20 per cent reduction in power and air conditioning. Previously we spent 75,000 a year on power costs and now this has dropped to 50,000. Our hardware costs have also dropped by 75,000 per year." He said the council would save 75,000 on server costs alone.

Bracknell Forest Council has now accelerated its server replacement scheme and frontline public services in light of the benefits already seen using VMware.


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