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Citrix XenServer Helps Rankin County Go Virtual

Faced with aging hardware, Rankin County needed a way to make room for more servers to support the county's IT needs

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Citrix Systems, Inc. announced that Rankin County, which ranks among the top 10 percent of fastest-growing U.S. counties, has deployed Citrix XenServer to upgrade, consolidate and maintain the county's server infrastructure.

XenServer is an open and powerful server virtualization solution that helps reduce datacenter costs by transforming static and complex datacenter environments into more dynamic, easy to manage IT service delivery centers.

The IT team for Rankin County, Mississippi serves more than 20 departments across disparate locations.

Technology support across the county includes the 911 emergency call center, police officers on patrol and county government officials.

Running out of space in the county's server room and faced with aging hardware, Rankin County needed a way to make room for more servers to support the county's IT needs while maintaining services around the clock. In response, the Rankin County Board of Supervisors funded a virtualization project that uses Citrix XenServer to provide a way to upgrade and update mission-critical server applications without any service outages or downtime.

"A majority of the county's IT functions - sheriff's office, emergency responders, 911 - are critical and need to be live and functioning 24-7," said Billy Rials, Rankin County IT department manager. "I answer to users and to citizens of my county. When services aren't available due to a computer glitch, that falls on my shoulders. Virtualizing the servers means users never have to quit working so citizens are not put in harm's way."

Before deploying their Citrix solution, the county's server room was pushed to capacity housing 30 physical servers. Since migrating to Citrix XenServer, Rials said that they have already scaled down to only 10 traditional servers and five physical Citrix XenServers, with plans to further reduce physical server use. Each server now runs multiple virtualized servers - as many as 40 virtualized servers on one physical machine - which has dramatically increased capacity without overloading the datacenter.

"Rankin County is growing and thriving and that can come with IT challenges," said Dave Podwojski, director of Citrix Government, Education & Health. "Virtualization has become the optimal choice for organizations looking to consolidate servers, improve business continuity, and enhance the agility of their infrastructure. XenServer allows them to achieve those things immediately for minimal cost. And because Rankin County is leveraging XenServer to improve critical services like 911 that affect everyone, it puts a face on what virtualization can do." "

In an area subject to tornadoes, Rankin County's Citrix virtualization solution ensures continuity of operations even in the event of a natural disaster.

"Backing up data to a remote location isn't enough. By virtualizing our servers with Citrix XenServer, both data and servers are protected. Instead of days or weeks to recover, I'm looking at minutes," explained Rials.

And, Rials sees the benefits of virtualization beyond the county servers as the county plans its second phase of virtualization: desktop virtualization with Citrix XenDesktop.

Since the county offices are housed across several buildings on a main campus, with additional locations across the county and in mobile use, desktop virtualization with Citrix XenDesktop will provide Rials and his staff with the ability to remotely configure, update and maintain desktops. The once time-consuming process of setting up new hardware on each individual desktop will be streamlined, which will free up the IT team to work on other, equally important projects. County employees who work from multiple locations, such as court officials working in both offices and the courtroom, will now have the opportunity to securely access their desktops from any computer in any county location.

"It's our goal to get as fully virtualized as possible and Citrix is helping us do that quickly, easily and cost-efficiently," said Rials.

Click Here for Instant Virtualization!
XenServer. Enterprise-class. Cloud-proven. Free.
Join the rapidly growing community of IT professionals who choose Citrix XenServer for their virtualization platform.

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