Tech done right: The 2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards

Vision and execution are hallmarks of great leadership, as these eight technologists proved in pushing their organizations in bold new directions

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2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards:

IT management

Jake Dominguez, CIO, AMD

Jake Dominguez, AMD

Chipmaker AMD's data center in Austin, Texas, was outdated. In addition, power was expensive in Texas, as were the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) licenses required for its operations. The IT department recognized that the company could no longer afford to manage the costs of the Austin data center.

Last September, AMD transitioned its entire Austin data center's technology and infrastructure to a new Tier 3 facility in Atlanta without hiring any external contractors -- and did so under a tight timeline, coming in two months ahead of schedule. The consolidation effort upgraded more than 75 percent of applications to take advantage of newer hardware, newer OS versions, newer database versions, and in some cases, newer application versions. The relocation saved AMD $6.8 million a year in power costs and operations licenses.

The project successfully virtualized 87 percent of nongrid servers, an increase from 60 percent, allowing AMD to recover valuable rack and floor space. The consolidation upgraded the corporate services infrastructure to take advantage of newer platforms, routers, networking, and firewall equipment. The transition to a larger private cloud helped the company save money, while at the same time increase productivity and efficiencies for its engineers, says CIO Jake Dominguez.

In addition, the data center consolidation project helped AMD improve power and cooling efficiency, ultimately reducing the company's carbon footprint: AMD lowered its Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating to 1.56 in Atlanta from roughly 1.7 in Austin.

AMD is now continuing with its data center consolidation, working to consolidate its 18 data center facilities, located in the United States and Asia, to two locations -- Atlanta and Cyberjaya, Malaysia -- by 2016.

AMD's data center consolidation resulted in several innovative efficiencies, including greater employee productivity and information security with the use of internal transactional zones and firewalls.

The effort wasn't just about relocating to a cheaper location and building an efficient data center from scratch rather than spending more to refit the existing data center. "We took AMD's IT department from maintenance to mission, by transitioning the company so that it could generate greater business innovation activity," Dominguez says.

AMD, like many other organizations, was spending most of its IT money on maintenance: 70 percent was going to maintenance and only 30 percent toward innovation. Now that spend is 60 percent on innovation and 40 percent maintenance, and the goal is to reach an 80 percent IT spending level on innovation.

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