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Virtualized Servers

Miami-Dade Public Library System

Problem Statement

The Library planned for the replacement of expired servers and servers to be expired in fiscal year 2008/2009. This amounted to $1.2 million dollars worth of equipment and approximately 100 servers. Due to budget reductions the Library allocation was reduced to $600,000 and the purchase of the servers was postponed to the following fiscal year. Technology staff was faced with trying to meet the Library’s requirements for servers and storage with a marked reduction in the budget.


With assistance from several vendors, the technology staff researched the market in order to prepare the requirements for the use of blade technology and server virtualization. Staff determined that by investing in virtualized server technology the Library would be able to reduce the physical number of servers to 80 and keep within the $600,000 allocated for the project. In addition, blade technology was not implemented due to the technology’s higher electric requirements and the heat output.

The Library also had green initiatives that targeted a reduction in electric needs and more eco-friendly hardware components. Technology staff recommended virtual server technology in order to meet the Library’s green initiatives. Even though the technology was new to staff they felt the maintenance effort for these servers would require less intervention since there were less servers to maintain.


The server project was completed in mid February 2010 with the installation of Dell’s VMware and 8 servers virtualized for 80 servers. Staff is migrating applications to the new server environment and this project is expected to be completed by July 2010 and by mid-summer the Library will be able to realize a reduction in electric pull and heat output from the new servers. Staff will work with facilities maintenance to capture pre and post heat and electric draw on the UPS (uninterrupted power source) as a means of marking efficiencies for the Library’s green initiatives. Staff work effort will be measured by the number of hours spent maintaining the servers in production.