Harpreet Gill, application developer, College of Dentistry

As director of information technology at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Chuck McBrearty says his department is always trying to work smarter.

As part of that strategy, the college had gradually been migrating servers to central facilities long before TIER. But, when a longtime system administrator applied for early retirement last spring, the college opted to accelerate the server migration process and re-evaluate its goals.

Migrating the servers addressed a retirement gap and freed up staff to work on projects that are important to the college. Dentistry re-purposed the retirement budget line to hire a new application developer, Harpreet Gill, who has focused on key projects, like a lab information system for dental pathologists, and systems to track externship placements and courses taken for certifications.

“We hated to lose someone with 38 years of experience, but it was a chance to look at where we were, where we were going, and how we could work with OneIT to generate savings while also better aligning our IT resources with the needs of the college,” McBrearty says. “It was a chance for us to strategically look at that line and see where we could add the most value to the College of Dentistry.”

The Data Centers and Servers Project kicked off before TIER, as the UI looked to transition servers to consolidated data centers and re-purpose vacated server rooms. It’s now one of the 16 OneIT@Iowa initiatives.

The project team is working through a list of 2,000 servers on campus, aiming to consolidate over 36 server rooms and closets to four centrally governed, managed, and supported multi-tenant data centers.

With campus partners, they’ve migrated servers from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Division of Continuing Ed, Law, and Public Health. Migrating/decommissioning servers from the Chemistry data center enabled the shutdown of a 20-ton air chiller, spelling big electrical and mechanical cost savings.

“Ultimately, the project helps us more efficiently deliver system administration services that are essential to security,” says Guy Falsetti, of Information Technology Services, who co-leads the project team with J.J. Urich, of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Jerry Protheroe, also of ITS. “And if we can transform former data center spaces into something productive like an office, that’s a win too.”