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Berkeley embarks on a Digital Transformation with Nutanix to power the city of the future

Berkeley embarks on a Digital Transformation with Nutanix to power the city of the future

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Nutanix Solutions enables the City of Berkeley to increase the scalability and reliability of its data center infrastructure to meet the city’s growing technology need and continuity services.

Nutanix,  a leader in private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing, has announced that the City of Berkeley has implemented Nutanix software solutions to increase the scalability and reliability of its infrastructure as part of a large project to modernize the city IT systems to better respond to current and future demands.

The IT infrastructure was recently put to the test when the city had to implement several new technology-driven initiatives as part of their pandemic response.

The City of Berkeley, located in Northern California, supports a community of up to approximately 120,000 people. The IT team is responsible for supporting a variety of departments such as police, fire, public works planning and, uniquely compared to other municipalities, the health services and housing and community services departments.

Berkeley’s legacy infrastructure was not able to support the city’s increasing technology demands, which led it to a broad IT modernization project to enable the team to support current and future demands. The city’s IT needs quickly spiked in response to the pandemic with an increase in demand for technologies and resources to support employees and the community at large. Nutanix was able to deliver the scalability and efficiency needed to support its growing needs.

“As we continue to go through major system transitions and adapt to this changing world, we now have the capability to scale up our infrastructure and support the new initiatives and solutions for our growing needs and services,” said Savita Chaudhary, Director of IT, City of Berkeley.

“With Nutanix, we have been able to adapt during these unprecedented times and provide our employees with the resources and tools needed to work from home, as well as support telehealth and contact tracing projects, all while continuing to provide the highest level of service to our community.”

Prior to implementing Nutanix, the City of Berkeley had a traditional three-tier infrastructure that was unscalable and unreliable. The legacy infrastructure was complex to troubleshoot, sometimes resulting in long-lasting outages, during which the city’s departments had to rely on pen and paper. This was not a sustainable solution as the IT infrastructure supports critical services, including CAD 911, asset management and ERP. 

Nutanix has not only provided the City of Berkeley with a more reliable and scalable infrastructure that is easy for its lean IT team to manage, but it has also provided an accessible Disaster Recovery (DR) solution, something of vital importance in earthquake-prone California. Prior To implementing Nutanix, the City Of Berkeley did not have any DR in place. With Nutanix Xi Leap implemented, the city can now deliver continuity of service in the event of a planned or unplanned failover.

Nutanix also enabled Berkeley to easily adapt to changing demands. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, the city had zero remote workers. With Nutanix already implemented, they were able to seamlessly support approximately 700 employees to work from home. The pandemic brought new obstacles as the team had to support more and more technology to properly serve its community.

The IT staff can now focus on delivering new technology solutions to the departments instead of worrying about managing the data center running on Nutanix infrastructure.

Another priority for the City of Berkeley was environmental sustainability. Since implementing Nutanix, the city has had an about 50% reduction in their hardware footprint that resulted in significant savings in power consumption, thus reducing the carbon footprint.

“The City of Berkeley’s Department of IT’s mission is to provide cost effective, smart technology solutions to its business partners and community with integrity and commitment to excellence. Nutanix solutions have given them the tools they need to fulfil this mission,” said Chip George, VP Public Sector, Nutanix.

“Fulfilling the needs of their community is one of the team’s top priorities and with Nutanix they are able to do this for their current IT needs and feel prepared for whatever new challenges may come their way.”

With Nutanix, the City of Berkeley is able to leverage technology to have a positive impact on the city and the community as a whole.

We asked Savita Chaudhary, Director of IT, further questions to find out more about the implementation:

Can you explain how the deployment has allowed you to scale up your infrastructure and support new initiatives and solutions?

The City of Berkeley supports a community of up to approximately 120,000 people, and our IT team is responsible for supporting a variety of departments – such as police, fire, public works planning and, uniquely compared to other municipalities, the health services and housing and community services departments.  

Before implementing the new technology, the city’s infrastructure consisted of a three-tier platform that was unreliable and unscalable. The legacy infrastructure was complex to troubleshoot, which often resulted in long-lasting outages. Since working with Nutanix, we have switched to a single system, which has in turn reduced the amount of physical hardware we use by 50% and provided us with significant energy savings. Our new infrastructure is reliable and scalable and is easy for our IT team to manage.  

How has the deployment facilitated you to provide your employees with the resources and tools needed to work from home?

We had fully implemented Nutanix before the pandemic hit, when we had no virtually remote workers. After the onset of COVID-19 however, Nutanix’s infrastructure helped us easily support approximately 700 employees who were now working from home. Our IT staff no longer had to worry about managing our complex data center, and instead could focus on new initiatives and solutions that will benefit the city in the long term. 

Can you explain how the deployment has allowed you to support: (a) telehealth and contact tracing projects (b) provision of service to the community.

With Nutanix, our IT team is now able to focus on proactive projects and strategic planning. For example, instead of being bogged down by a complex infrastructure with time consuming upgrades and excessive troubleshooting, the team can now focus on telehealth and contact tracing projects to help our community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the implementation, our unreliable legacy system would often lead to long outages, and that would impact the city’s various departments, including police, fire, public works, planning, health services and housing and community services. The deployment now allows us to better support critical community services, such as CAD 911, asset management and ERP. 

 How have the solutions helped with scalability? Flexible, reliant and stable infrastructure 

As we continue to go through major system transitions and adapt to the changing world, Nutanix has given us the capability to scale up our infrastructure and support the new initiatives and solutions for our growing needs and services. With Nutanix, we have been able to add new services and offerings to our infrastructure in a short period of time, where in the past, this would have been a time-consuming process that may have required taking our systems offline. With Nutanix, we don’t have to do that.  

How has the IT team coped with infrastructure management since implementing Nutanix? 

Before Nutanix, we relied on a legacy tier-three infrastructure, which made it difficult for our IT teams to scale when necessary or implement new applications. The new system is scalable, centralized on a single platform, and easy to stand up, helping to reduce our application deployment time significantly. Plus, it was quick and easy for our IT team to get up to speed and learn the new system. With it in place, the focus of our IT staff has shifted off of managing the datacenter and on to delivering new solutions to essential community departments.  

What are the benefits of having Nutanix Xi Leap DR in place?

Prior to Nutanix, the city had no kind of Disaster Recovery solution in place. Being in California, the threat of earthquakes and wildfires made it essential that we introduce a solution that could provide a continuation of service in the event of failover. However, Nutanix’s Xi Leap solution – a flexible cloud-based DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution that does not require any installation – gives uspeace of mind knowing that in the event of a disaster, the city can still deliver continuity of service.  

Xi Leap allows us to turn on failover and failback with one-click to keep business applications, data, and services available in the event of an incident. Continuous testing ensures that recovery plans do not fail in the most crucial moments, and it provides end-to-end security with encrypted data-at-rest and data-in-motion. Whether there is a planned or unplanned failover, we know that we are still able to deliver the services our community needs.

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