UNSW consolidation program to save more than $750K in 2009

Education provider's consolidation program continues as it looks towards new data centre in 2010

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) shared service program and consolidation efforts will reap the higher education provider upwards of $750,000 in savings for 2009.

The university has, among other efforts, reduced its servers by 300 (saving $500,000 for 2009), decommissioned 11 computer rooms and saved $250,000 on power and cooling costs since the program commenced in 2007.

"Even these figures now are going to increase," Charles Nolan, an IT consultant at UNSW, said. "At the start of the year these were our planning figures. You would probably find our savings are 25 per cent above those. That is even before we get into our new data centre."

UNSW will move into a new, more sustainable data centre located in the Sydney suburb of Randwick next year. The organisation has spoken with other data centre operators, including Canberra Data Centres (CDC), throughout the planning stages to ensure the new facility becomes as green as possible.

In October, Nolan told Computerworld the education provider had already consolidated 35 data centres, ranging from single servers to fully-fledged faculty-sized data centres, down to two primary locations and a third back up centre.

Prior to the move to its planned facility, however, it has had to purchase new, higher-density servers and storage. In the last few months it has bought seven new blade chassis and 300 terabytes of storage.

"It is the consolidation program," he said. "We are pulling all this stuff out of faculties and divisions and bringing it in and then finding more and more equipment. Plus their growth, anyway, and we are yet to really hit the virtual growth."

UNSW has already seen a huge growth in its virtualised environment with 30 per cent growth in the server environment and up to 60 per cent growth in the storage environment.

In the two and a half years since starting the project UNSW has grown to over 1200 servers, 700 of which are virtual running across Unix, Wintel and Linux environments.

On the plus side, virtualisation has enabled UNSW to get its per server unit cost and deployment time down from about $12,000 per physical server with three month end-to-end deployment to $1000 per virtual machine with a two day end-to-end deployment, Nolan said.

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