Unified comm paves way for better schools, more telework

Delaware links government offices, school districts to prepare for data-center consolidation

Delaware is consolidating the state’s various technology resources into a single managed infrastructure that links hundreds of state offices and school districts. 

The stage is now set for the adoption of advanced applications that support Delaware’s initiatives for data center consolidation, telework and business continuity, according to state officials. The state is using Verizon’s advanced unified communications tools  for the consolidation.

School districts needed more bandwidth for online testing and real-time evaluation, while agencies needed more capacity to handle increased e-mail and a new enterprise resource planning system, said James Sills, secretary and chief information officer for the Delaware Department of Technology and Information.

The IT department supports all three branches of government – executive, legislative, judicial – as well as kindergarten through 12th grade schools with more than 33,000 people on the network, Sills said, adding, that the network infrastructure is vital for providing a more responsive and cost-effective government.

Verizon’s Transparent LAN Service gives the state the ability to converge voice, data and video. Delaware is deploying Verizon IP Trunking across a private IP network to extend the reach of its Ethernet network. Verizon’s Burstable Enterprise Shared Trunks (BEST) capability, part of the IP Trunking solution, lets the state use idle trunk capacity at one location to accommodate an increase in communications traffic at another location, said Bette DeRogatis, area vice president for Verizon.

By upgrading its network infrastructure, the state will be able to reduce the number of data centers that serve state agencies, reducing energy consumption and costs.

The state has already moved Delaware’s Division of Corporation -- a vitally important agency that generates $850 million in revenue per year, a third of the state’s budget -- into the IT department’s data center. More than 900,000 businesses have their legal home in the state, so there was some nervousness about the move, Sills said.

The IT department plans to move the Department of Education’s data center after school closes for the summer and the Department of Transportation by the end of June.

With the upgraded network, IT can offer storage-as-a-service to agencies over a private cloud, said William Hickox, chief operating officer of the Department of Technology and Information. Many agencies have their own storage area networks and there is no need to duplicate infrastructure, he noted.

“We are able to provision services to our entire customer base no matter where they are located,” Hickox said. Additionally, the state is moving more video into the network as more employees use video-conferencing, he added.

Delaware has 16 executive branch departments and 63 agencies within the state.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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