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.