Green IT Enables a Thriving Technology Center

ByChelo Picardal

Meeting the demands of a growingand thriving technology center requires a strong, efficient and agile ITfoundation. Once a small suburb of Seattle, Bellevue is now the fifth largestcity in Washington state,witha population of more than 122,000, and it hasbeen called one of the most livable cities in America. Incorporated in 1953,Bellevue is a high-tech hubthatdelivers content-rich services to its citizens?fromonline access to permitting processes to videocapture for community events to an online traffic-flowmap?driving the need for a robust technology infrastructure.

As CTO for the city of Bellevue, my technicalresponsibilities encompass network and serverinfrastructure, technology strategies, enterprise architecture, technologystandards and security. My ultimate goal is to usetechnology to solve tough problems, make operations more efficient, and helpthe people of Bellevue connect, engage and explore.

My team and I took a deliberateapproach to strengthening our IT infrastructure and investing in technologythat could transport the city into the future. The first step for my team,which consists of 10 full-timeIT systems and network administrators, was to assess thechallenges we faced.

The Challenge

As state and local governments continueto face tight budgets and demands for more or improved services, managinggrowing data volumes and meeting aggressive service-levelagreements becomes a daunting challenge. Wedon?t have the budget to continually purchase newstorage capacity and hirethe IT staff to manage the growing infrastructure. On the other hand, simplycountingonexistingresources to meet growing needs was not a sustainable solution.

For the city,the transformation to a thriving high-tech hub required an optimized IT infrastructureto support online city services, an extensive application portfolio to managecity operations and 35 percent annual data growth?allwhile lowering costs to meet budget reduction targets and staying committed togreen IT. To meet these goals, we embarked on a multiyear datacenter and operations upgrade that reduced environmentalimpact as part of the city?s Environmental StewardshipInitiative (ESI).

Bellevue?s ESI effortfocuses on developing a community whose decisions and actions explicitly integrateand balance economic, ecological and social impacts with the stated goals ofworking toward sustainable operational practices; engaging employees, residentsand businesses in sustainable practices; and building on the city?sreputation as an environmental innovator and leader.

To effectively support the city?sgrowth,we needed to replace a seven-year-old storage infrastructure that was maxed outon processor capacity and rethink our expanding server farm. Not only did theexisting system make it difficult to expand storage and attach new systems,but performancerequirements could not be met, causing the city to have less than a year ofstorage capacity left.

We outlined a storageconsolidation and server virtualization strategy that required deduplicationand other storage efficiency technologies, plus replication technology to meet the stringentrecovery point objectives (RPO) of critical systems forour disaster recovery needs.