The SolutionBy Chelo Picardal | Posted 2012-06-14 Email Print
The city of Bellevue strengthened its IT infrastructure and invested in storage consolidation and server virtualization technologies that could deliver content-rich services to its citizens.
My team worked with Integrated Archive Systems (IAS) on streamlining our storage infrastructure to improve performance, simplify management, increase efficiencies and enable easy scalability. For the green data center operations, we consolidated direct-attached storage, network-attached storage and storage area network on a NetApp unified storage architecture. We leveraged VMware to virtualize and consolidate 70 percent of our approximately 200 servers, and we plan to hit our 80 percent virtualization goal this year.
Consolidating storage with virtualization enables IT to quickly deliver customer services with faster and easier provisioning. The consolidated infrastructure has set us up nicely for appropriate disaster recovery plans, private cloud for secure multitenancy and isolation, and virtual desktops.
It is also very easy for our administrators to use and quickly respond to storage needs. Above all, we now have a flexible, expandable and manageable system that enables the point-in-time recovery that our customers need, along with the ability to deliver services via a private cloud that lets us segment services without spawning new infrastructure.
Additionally, as a result of our storage consolidation and virtualization strategy, we have unified our previously disparate storage silos into a shared, centrally managed resource for long-term planning, trending and capacity management. We gained outstanding performance, scalability and efficiency, resulting in better services to our customers—the city departments that serve our growing population.
Our new unified storage achieved 30 to 40 percent storage space savings with NetApp deduplication out of the box, allowing us to avoid buying more storage for the past couple of years—a big help for our constrained budget. Another key benefit is that our IT department has reduced recovery point objectives (RPOs) from 24 hours to one or two hours for critical applications, while reducing administration time by 30 percent. This enabled our IT staff to focus on other job responsibilities.
All the benefits our IT department has gained ultimately connect back to the city’s continued commitment to environmental stewardship and reducing our carbon footprint. We were able to minimize the environmental impact of the city’s IT operations by decreasing material use and energy consumption that helps support our Energy Star building certification for City Hall.
As part of this commitment, Bellevue IT and its facilities organization installed outside air cooling for our data centers, set higher data center temperatures and installed more-accurate power meters to better measure and assess trends in our energy consumption. We improved our power-usage effectiveness (PUE) from 1.6 in 2007 to 1.5 in 2011. We also facilitated teleworking by enabling remote access to our applications and data, instituted double-sided printing as the default (delivering a 17 percent reduction in paper use) and extended equipment life cycles: PC life was extended from three years to four, and server life was extended from four years to five.
The partnerships with our core vendors—Citrix, Microsoft, NetApp and VMware—were instrumental in achieving our solutions. The vendors responded to our business needs and provided sophisticated products to achieve cohesive, seamless solutions. They also brought ideas from their other customers that would work in our environment and helped us keep up with industry best practices.
These projects have had an impact on the employees and citizens of the city of Bellevue. We will continue to build on our environmental achievements with more projects for submitting plans online, mobile apps for field staff, environmental portals for businesses and citizens, and unified communications for all staff members. With these projects, we hope to increase productivity, while reducing paper use, vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.
As a growing, thriving metropolis with limited resources, the city of Bellevue constantly strives to do more with less and make the most of our IT investments. By using our normal replacement cycle to overhaul our IT infrastructure, we are better positioned to meet expanding business demands amid the challenge of budget reductions.
And, by implementing an efficient IT infrastructure, Bellevue has become more resource-efficient and is saving money without compromising customer service, security or resiliency.
Chelo Picardal is the CTO for the city of Bellevue, Wash.