Aside from the possible cost savings and the ability to quickly create servers, virtualisation can help local councils because they often use more bespoke, specialised applications than most private organisations, said Steve Clark, senior server support assistant for the council. "Local councils have a variety of departments to support from an IT perspective, and it's all fairly specialised and bespoke," he said. "There are some things councils do which no one else does, such as council tax... no one is collecting tax in the private world."
With that in mind, last year the council, which has 700 staff using 500 computers, consolidated its servers using VMware Infrastructure 3, with the aim of reducing hardware, cutting power consumption and lowering heat production.
"We first had about 12 servers on two physical ones, so there's obviously a decent cost savings purely from cutting back on hardware," Clark said. Now, the council has 50 virtual machines running on six physical servers, as well as ten virtual PCs. He said the council's servers are about 60 per cent virtualised, but more will go that way following the natural refresh cycle. "As new things come up, they're put on the virtualised system," he said.