Bracknell Forest Borough Council has saved £50,000 on hardware in the roll out of a single application on virtual servers – but expects reduced labour to yield even greater savings.

The move to virtualisation in June 2007 delivered via VMware, is expected to deliver a return on investment of £200,000 over four years by reducing the need to refresh servers. But the reduction in hardware cost is just the tip of the iceberg in benefits being realised.

"We recently rolled out an integrated Children's Support System. Normally the process would have taken two weeks. We did it in an afternoon," said Richard Dawson, IT services manager at the council.

A traditional deployment would have required 12 servers, whereas the new topology called for just two physical servers. Creating the 10 virtual servers was an afternoon’s work reducing time to install by eight days thus freeing up IT staff for other work.

Bracknell Forest also expects virtualisation to decrease its overall energy spending in the datacentre by 20%, year on year. The current outlay on power is reckoned at £75,000.

Virtualisation was introduced last summer, initially to reduce server refresh rates. Monitoring usage of the incumbent server configuration had shown that only 8% of servers were achieving even 10% utilisation of capacity.