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File Virtualization: NetApp's VFM does DoD Migration

The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is the Department of Defense's contract manager, its 10,000 employees overseeing 300,000 prime contracts worth a total of $850 billion. It is responsible for seeing that those contracts meet the performance requirements and deadlines, while coming within budget. But it also has to make sure it is spending its own budget wisely, which led to the data center consolidation.

The project involved several actions. One was to reduce the number of servers by using VMware's Infrastructure. The DCMA began looking at virtualization in mid-2005. At that point, the agency had about 625 servers, and was replacing 200 of them annually. In November of that year, it started using VMware virtualization technology, buying 60 new servers instead of the usual 200. In subsequent years, it only needs to buy 20, saving the agency nearly half a million dollars annually, not counting power, cooling and labor costs. Earlier this year, the DCMA upgraded to the latest version – VMware Infrastructure 3 – which virtualizes servers, storage and networking.

In addition to consolidating the servers, the DCMA also needed to set up a common file system that would work across the enterprise. For this it created a File Area Network (FAN) using software and storage appliances from Network Appliance. The DCMA has over 300TB of storage.

When it consolidated its data centers, the agency went from 56 file and print servers down to two clustered NetApp Filers – the FAS3020C and FAS6070C – at each site: the DCMA's primary data center in Carson and another in Boston. The 3020Cs are used for file sharing and the 6070Cs are in a SAN. NetApp’s VFM was used to migrate the files from the file servers to the NetApp appliances.


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