Commentary

IT Outsourcing in Mississippi

Mississippi’s Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) awarded a three-year contract with Infinite Group, Inc. (IGI) to provide virtualization services to state agencies, beginning this fall, according to CivSource, a website that follows government IT policies and trends.

The move is part of an overall strategy by the state to streamline operations and modernize statewide use of IT.

Virtualization is one the more abstract terms in IT, and can mean several things. In this case, Mississippi is seeking to consolidate a large number of agency hardware, software and applications into an environment where, to state employee users, they appear to be running on one system (hence the term “virtual machine, or VM, and its corollary, VMware).

Typically, a virtualization project reduces the number of servers and data centers an organization uses. This leads to a commensurate–and significant—reduction in space, storage devices and, notably, power consumption.

Here’s more from CivSource:

According to IGI, Mississippi state agencies can migrate applications into ITS’ virtual data center environments, where IGI will manage and implement server consolidations that migrate physical servers to virtual machines.

The first agency planning to utilize the new cloud computing service is the Mississippi Department of Human Services, with more agencies expected to follow as the physical footprint and energy-saving benefits of virtualization become realized. Other public entities will also be enabled to purchase virtualization services from IGI under the terms of the agreement.

Virtualization is not a simple process, but the field is competitive and, since it is mostly back-end, it can be done incrementally without risking the type of disruption a wholesale system change-out can. This, plus the savings it invariably produces, makes it one of better places for states to begin and IT outsourcing/privatization project.

Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.

Titch's work primarily focused on telecommunications, the Internet and new media. He is a former managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News (IT&T News) published by the Heartland Institute. His columns have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Total Telecom, and America's Network, among others.

Prior to joining Reason in 2004, Titch covered the telecommunications industry as a journalist for more than two decades. Titch was director of editorial projects for Data Communications magazine where he directed content development for supplemental publications and special projects. He has also held the positions of editorial director of Telephony, editor of Global Telephony magazine, Midwest bureau chief of CommunicationsWeek, and associate editor-communications at Electronic News.

Outside of the telecom industry, Titch conducted rich media and content development for publishers and corporate marketing groups. He has also developed and launched his own web-based media, including SecuritySquared.com, an on-line resource for the security industry.

Titch graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and English.