Penrith council plugs server sprawl, beefs-up DR

Server count slashed from 70 to 15.

Penrith City Council has slashed infrastructure and power costs and increased disaster recovery and availability in the data centre with virtualisation and server consolidation.

The council represents 180,000 western Sydney residents across a 407 kilometre area covering the Nepean River flats and the Blue Mountains. It has 55 sites including the Penrith Civic Centre, libraries, child care centres and recreation centres.

Database administrator Ian Honeysett said the council took a hardware refresh cycle as an opportunity to cut back its growing fleet of 70 servers to about 15.

“There was a need to reduce emissions and server and cooling power costs [because] server management and sprawl were eating into operational costs and physical rack space,” Honeysett said.

“We did this by server consolidation using virtualisation. One of my major Key Result Areas is business continuity [and] virtualisation will drastically reduce my system re-establishment workload immediately following an event.”

He said the block of 14 servers -- a combination of Dell PE650 and PE2650, were still delivering their allocated tasks well, however they were five years old and Dell warranties were no longer available.

The council replaced some of the Dell servers after Honeysett advised against a full fleet replacement

“There was enough budget to replace each server, but research found server consolidation was by far the best long term option,” he said.

The council's sprawling server fleet which runs 108 applications is now receding. VMware ESX Server hosts and support infrastructure was deployed in the data centre, which Honeysett said has made tasks such as server upgrades and patching “much more easy”.

“The council’s main concern with virtualisation was the 'all the eggs in one basket' problem,” Honeysett said. “This has been addressed by VMotion and High Availability.”

The servers are hooked into an EMC Storage Area Network (SAN) with LTO tape library (Linear Tape-Open).

The council has a dedicated sustainability department which pushes initiatives in line with the United Nations Environmental Principles (UNEP).

TAGS: server consolidation, VMware ESX server

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