In the past few days, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officially closed down its 5,000 square foot computer room as part of the effort to comply with a statewide IT consolidation initiative mandated by AB 2408 (Chapter 404, 2010). CDCR started with 70 racks and 650 servers, now there are only 7 racks.

According to Joe Panora, the director of the Division of Enterprise Information Services at CDCR, the department reduced its computer room power consumption by nearly 80 percent. This was accomplished by consolidating and eliminating redundant servers, virtualizing the servers that remained and migrating those services to a state of the art Data Center at Office of Technology Services (OTech).

“When it was all done, the closing down of our computer room resulted in us being able to gain economies of scale and manage costs more effectively through standardization and virtualization,” Panora said in an interview with Techwire.net.

The effort at the CDCR coincides with the deadline put forth by AB 2408, which called for the closing all existing server rooms that house non-network equipment by June 2013.  This will be accomplished by consolidating server rooms into Tier III-equivalent data centers. CDCR operated a Tier 1 data center.  CDCR’s initial cost estimate to convert their Tier 1 data center to a Tier 3 data center was approximately $3 million.

Darrell Friddle, Manager of the Network Engineering and Server Administration sections of the CDCR and Gordon Heitman, the Infrastructure Enterprise Architect, said that not only were there benefits in energy saved and cost avoidances, but other equally substantial areas of benefits were generated by conducting the process of consolidation itself.

“We were able to improve system performance, bring our system documentation up to date, leverage and repurpose our IT resources more effectively, gain efficiencies in our backup processes, and position ourselves to take advantage of disaster recovery services,” said Davood Ghods, deputy director of Enterprise Information Services at CDCR.

“The project started out with ‘Let’s move all of our applications and all of our servers,’” Friddle said. “Well, that sounds pretty simple, but we did a lot of other things besides that.”  All servers were virtualized which allowed for more effective use of resources, applications were upgraded and the Operating Systems, naming conventions and IP addressing were all standardized.”

“What’s important are the intangibles that people take for granted,” Panora added. “The documentation, the IP addressing scheme, securing different zones on who has access to what,” Panora said.

Panora acknowledged that this was a cooperative effort between the CDCR and the California Technology Agency, and OTech, which operates the Tier 3, state of the art data center for State of California.

“This effort was truly a collaboration and partnership with the Office of Technology Services—our technical teams work extremely well together,” Panora said.

This story was originally published by Techwire.net

Amy Stewart  |  Staff Writer, Techwire.net

Amy Stewart is a staff writer with Techwire.net, a publication dedicated to the public-sector technology industry in California.