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BBC Drifting Toward Data Centers

As the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) sorts through the bids for its $3.6 billion technology division, a new development emerges: The company's chief technology officer plans to move some 800 geographically scattered servers to data centers in the near future.

There is currently only a single data center within the operation, which is primarily responsible for supporting the BBC's Online and Interactive content. And that's not going to cut it, according to John Varney, the Beeb's CTO.

The more than 800 servers supporting the BBC's massive infrastructure come from a variety of vendors, including IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ). "Over time, we will move into the vendors' data centers when we have consolidated our IT, we will be able to roll out applications much more quickly across the network," says Varney.

As yet, there is no time frame in place for when the BBC's kit will be moved across to new data centers, though Varney says time is on his side. "This can't be done in a hurry – this is a ten-year contract, and we have plenty of time in the contract to ensure that the migration is dealt with sensibly."

The data center consolidation is a key part of the current sale of the BBC's Technology division, which was created in 2001 to provide technology services to the BBC and also provide IT support to third parties. The successful bidder, in addition to taking over the new division, will also be expected to overhaul the BBC's existing IT infrastructure.

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