Department of Water Resources Consolidates Data Center, Reduces Server Footprint by Two-Thirds

Moore’s Law describes the trend of computer circuits getting exponentially smaller and more powerful every two years. Obviously, consumers have seen the trend over the years in everything from cell phones to digital cameras. In the business world, a corporate data center that once occupied an entire floor can now be stored in a server blade rack the size of a soda machine.

The trend of consolidation and doing more with less has also become a dominant theme in state government. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently completed the implementation of a 16-month project to increase the flexibility and scalability of its data center while cutting the server footprint by two-thirds. The project improved power consumption by 40 percent and cooling requirements by 50 percent. DWR has already avoided $2.2 million in operating expenses and reduced them overall by 25 percent.

According to Tim Garza, agency chief information officer for the Natural Resources Agency, the department has virtualized 95 percent of their applications and consolidated 600 rack servers located in multiple data centers to 160 in a single facility. “We took an industry approach to modernize our government infrastructure,” he said.

DWR’s effort, started in late 2009, aligns with the statewide effort to reduce the overall amount of energy used by IT equipment by 30 percent by next year. Led by the California Technology Agency, the statewide IT consolidation initiative also calls for the reduction of data center square footage to be reduced and for all mission critical, public facing applications to be hosted in Tier III data centers.

Garza says the biggest challenge for his department was to redirect existing resources into new funding for the design and implementation. “We had great executive sponsorship. It was really a perfect storm where everyone said it made a lot of sense. We had the right people with the expertise to design for tomorrow’s needs,” he concluded.