Consolidating from 70 racks and 800 servers to three cabinets… California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Agency Chief Information Officer Joe Panora discusses moving to the Federated Data Center. Click below to watch the video.


I’m Joe Panora. I’m the agency CIO for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. And in my role I really make sure that our agency is aligned with the current administration, specifically with the Technology Agency, where they’re going with technology. So I take that back into our department and I make sure from an IT policy and an IT strategic plan, from an IT governance, from a project portfolio, that we’re really managing that at the enterprise level.

And we really were faced with do we — were we going to invest a lot of money in our leased facility and bring our data center up to a Tier 3 standard, or did it make more sense to look at other options that are available.

Now, we weren’t the only department that was in this scenario. There were multiple departments that had data center assessments done. A lot of them were sitting in the same situation I was. So the FDC kind of came out of a result of that.

And so we looked at that and we formed kind of a coop tenant environment. And there were three anchor tenants. There was the California Prison Healthcare, there was obviously Corrections, and then there was the Department of Healthcare Services. So those are your three anchor tenants. Along with OTEC the Technology Agency formed this coop multi-tenant environment.

And the FDC really allowed us to basically consolidate, virtualize, and move into an environment where we had a shared infrastructure so I could minimize my costs and the cost was spread amongst multiple departments. And now I get to really focus on basically managing my server environment and deploying rapidly my systems and applications.

My environment right now is about a 5,000 square feet computer room in Rancho Cordova. It’s a leased facility. I have about 70 racks. I have about a little under 800 servers. By the time I get done moving into the FDC environment I’m going to be in a high density, high virtualized environment. I will go from 70 racks to three cabinets. So if I actually stretched out my arms and did my wingspan, I could touch end to end the space that I’m going to have in the FDC. That’s a significant reduction in foot space, as far as your footprint that you need your overall footprint. So I significantly reduced that, I reduced my power consumption, and now I can really focus on managing my server environment.

This week, Acting Secretary Christy Quinlan participated in a panel discussion on green IT in Sacramento. Among the issues she discussed was the Federated Data Center (FDC) which is a part of AB 2408, the statewide initiative to consolidate IT. Located at the Office of Technology Services Gold Camp Facility in Rancho Cordova, the FDC provides agencies with a means to meet the statutory requirements in AB 2408 for all mission critical and public facing applications to be housed within a Tier III data center. Additionally, the FDC offers agencies a means to reduce both their data center footprint, as well as the energy required to support their computing environments.

Information technology equipment accounts for 40 percent of energy used within office environments. AB2408 requires all executive branch agencies to reduce the total amount of energy utilized by IT and telecom equipment by 10 percent by July 1, 2010, by 20 percent by July 1, 2011, and by 30 percent by July 1, 2012

According to our engineers at the Technology Agency, the FDC’s green attributes are based on server virtualization, using high capacity servers and private cloud services, among other things. Server virtualization, a method of running multiple independent virtual operating systems on a single physical computer, can boost density by 15 times or more, eliminating server sprawl and cutting maintenance costs. In fact, four tons of CO2 are eliminated for every server virtualized, the equivalent to taking 1.5 cars off the highway.

Federated Data Center, Office of Technology Services, Rancho Cordova

The FDC also uses Energy Star rated blade server technology that will boost physical server density by three times and be 30 percent more energy efficient than standard servers.

Another innovation used in the FDC is the “hot aisle – cold aisle” strategy which provides better management of airflow in the data center by creating hot and cold aisles. All cold air is supplied into the cold aisles, and heat is taken out from the hot aisles, thus not allowing any hot air to get remixed with the cold air in the cold aisles. This will reduce operating costs and the resulting carbon emissions by 20 percent.

From left to right: State CIO Teri Takai, CDCR Secretary Matt Cate, Department of Health Care Services Director David Maxwell Jolley, CDCR Agency CIO Joe Panora, CTO Adrian Farley, Federal Receiver Clark Kelso, Receiver’s Acting CIO Liana Bailey-Crimmins, Receiver’s Chief Deputy Elaine Bush and Chief Deputy Christy Quinlan.