OCIO Issues 'Virtualization First' Policy for Computer Servers in California Government

State Technology Update - December 20, 2010

The Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) today announced a statewide policy requiring agencies to virtualize when increasing computer server capacity. As part of California’s agenda to consolidate its information technology (IT) program to improve state government operations and reduce costs, the new policy will maximize the physical resources of existing hardware, reducing new acquisition and maintenance costs.  Server virtualization is a method of running multiple independent virtual operating systems on a single physical computer.

The policy applies to all executive branch agencies that are now required to make every effort to virtualize existing servers instead of purchasing new equipment.  Newly purchased servers are also required to utilize virtualization for maximum efficiency.  Details of Information Technology Policy Letter (ITPL) 10-16 are on the OCIO website at: http://www.cio.ca.gov/Government/IT_Policy/TL.html.  

Many state agencies are already pursuing server virtualization to increase capacity and reduce their infrastructure footprint. In 2008, there were an estimated 10,000 computer servers throughout state government.  Currently, there are 8,000 servers, a reduction directly attributable to server virtualization.

Signed in September of this year, AB 2408  defines targets and timelines for IT consolidation across the executive branch, including modernizing California's IT infrastructure to increase efficiency, reduce energy usage and save costs.  A key technology used in California’s consolidation program is based on server virtualization.

Originally called for in the Governor’s Executive Order (EO) S-03-10, AB2408 requires state agencies to:

  • Reduce the total amount of energy utilized by IT and telecommunications equipment by 20 percent by July 1, 2011 and by 30 percent by July 1, 2012,
  • Reduce data center square footage by 50 percent by July 2011,
  • Host all mission critical public facing applications and server refreshes in a Tier III data center and close all existing data centers and server rooms that house non-network equipment by June 2013,
  • Begin migrating from their existing network services to the California Government Network no later than July 2011.
  • Begin migrating to the state’s shared e-mail solution no later than June 2011,
  • Develop and maintain enterprise architecture plans in compliance with the statewide enterprise architecture policies and standards as established by the OCIO; and,
  • Participate in activities coordinated by the Office of Information Security for response to security incidents and cyber security threats.

When the OCIO was established in January 2008, it was the intent of the Legislature and Governor to create an agency that, among other things, establishes policies and standards to ensure that state information technology systems run effectively. Through changes to the State Administrative Manual and the Statewide Information Management Manual, the OCIO creates statewide policy for the Executive Branch to ensure coordination as the agency works to oversee IT activities with a common direction and vision.

Please Note: Beginning January 1, 2011, the OCIO will be renamed the California Technology Agency in accordance with Chapter 404, Statutes of 2010 (AB 2408).

Contact:  Bill Maile (916) 549-2845