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Ordnance Survey plans greener future

Karl Flinders

Ordnance survey's IT department is planning to cut its power consumption by transferring large image files from its power-hungry storage area networks (Sans) to removable disks.

"The IT department is one of the big users of energy, and we have to reduce this and be aware of new technologies and their power consumption," said Dave Lipsey, infrastructure manager at Ordnance Survey.

The company is using BridgeHead Software's automated policy-based archiving product HT Filestore to automate the migration of data from the San to ultra-dense optical discs

"The way to cut down on power consumption is by using devices and technology that do not use power. Instead of having lots of spinning disks in a datacentre, we have ultra-dense optical discs, which do not consume power until accessed and have a 50-year lifespan," said Lipsey.

The company plans to reduce power consumption further by extending its server virtualisation strategy. Ordnance Survey already runs 50 virtual servers on a cluster of three physical servers, but it plans to put all of its 200 Windows servers into a virtualised environment. "This is obviously a huge saver, and has been very successful so far," he said.

The agency has plans for a new headquarters about a mile away from its current building in Southampton, which is under consideration by the planning authorities.

Ordnance survey, which had a turnover of more than £100m last year, makes 90% of this from data-related sales. These sales include geographical data going to government planning departments, satellite navigation and GIS systems as well as the emergency services.

Ordnance survey also plans a new ID management system to simplify and secure access and will adopt voice over IP across the headquarters.


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