State consolidates servers, security
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Oct 02, 2002
Ensuring that North Carolina's information technology systems don't succumb
to any interruptions, the state government is undertaking data server consolidation
to bolster network security as well as save costs, according to its chief
George Bakolia, who took over the CIO reins this spring, said he's anticipating
"significant savings" by reducing the number of servers across the state
government by "at a minimum 50 to 60 percent."
"And that really trickles right into network security because of our
inability and lack of resources to keep up with the continuous patching
of our systems attached to our network," he said. "And then we can also
reduce the cost on the maintenance and the procurement processes, so if
we can do that, we can shift some of those funds toward the other aspects."
Data server consolidation also helps the state deploy and use IT employees
more effectively, he said, noting the shortage of government IT workers
Another initiative is creating a security zone architecture for all
mission-critical applications related to North Carolina's portal (www.ncgov.com).
"Basically, we've taken the network architecture a step further," Bakolia
said. "We have defined levels of security within the network basically within
[server] farms we call it zones and in there we would house certain
applications based on how critical and sensitive they are. We began about
eight months ago."
Not unlike other states facing severe or considerable budget crunches,
North Carolina has to do more with less. Bakolia, who previously was the
N.C. Justice Department's CIO, said the government's IT budget has been
reduced by $20 million. That means no new large projects unless the legislature
commits funds to them, he said.
"But I really think that if we target areas of efficiencies, we get
more than enough to suffice," he said.
Data server consolidation is one of a handful of initiatives Bakolia
He is promoting an effort he started at the state Justice Department
that entailed creating a blueprint of applications within legacy systems
and translating lines of code into a more modern computer language, such
"There's other mission-critical entities across state government like
transportation, human services and revenue [that] have the same type of
problem where they have vintage applications from the '70s that all the
citizens of the state are relying on that nobody has even addressed," he
said. "We're looking at millions of lines of code, and my research so far
has been showing that the agencies are getting lower and lower in their
skill expertise to maintain those systems."
Another application he's promoting is a common payment service.
"We're enabling the private sector and state government to do automated
transaction handling with credit cards and things like that through a common
payment system," Bakolia said. "And that could add significant savings to
the state. It's running in production. We put it in place as of probably
about a year ago. But we're trying to expand on that."