planning a networked metropolis

In the top 20 most populous US cities and the fifth largest on the West Coast, Seattle serves over 668,000[1] residents and a workforce that migrates to its city limits daily. It is also a metropolis that has embraced technology to advance its operations and services.

Prior to networking and mobile technology, the city centralized its operations with the construction of the Seattle Municipal Tower (1990). The advancements in technology and feasibility to implement at the city’s scale led to the adoption of various applications that serve 20 internal departments, emergency responders, city operated utilities, city operated power and civic services. Like many other early adopters of technology, these services were hosted in retrofitted spaces that evolved from server rooms and in some cases migrated to city-hosted data center within the tower.  However, over time, the space allocation for these highly utilized resources and the supporting infrastructure proved to be either nearing end-of-life or at capacity.

Initiated by the City Council to analyze opportunities for IT efficiencies, Hargis Engineers completed a review of existing City of Seattle data centers and IT environments in support of a citywide optimization effort. Hargis’ telecommunications team led surveys and documented existing infrastructure, including mechanical, electrical, architectural and telecommunications systems. Reviews included assessing the main DoIT data center and other city-owned IT facilities to promote operational and cost efficiencies, leverage industry best practices, and introduce technological advancements.

DC_TIERINGThe infrastructure at these facilities was evaluated in terms of data center tier classifications, network transport, server architecture and storage solutions, and deficiencies and issues were identified with respect to reliability, availability, redundancy of systems and disaster recovery. Hargis provided a set of approaches and strategies for improving the city’s IT infrastructure, efficiency and performance. The options were organized into specific objectives and Hargis developed a framework to allow the city to evaluate options, including total cost of ownership, priorities, cost comparisons and phasing strategies. This information is being utilized by the City to develop short -term and long-term strategic plans for the future direction of the City of Seattle’s IT infrastructure and data centers.

Hargis has advanced a number of the capital improvements resulting from the study through our planning and engineering services.

[1] U.S. Census Bureau. Table 1. The Most Populous Counties and Incorporated Places in 2010 in the United States: 2000 and 2010.