On the computing infrastructure side, Showers says Monsanto has focused on server consolidation, relying on such technologies as VMWare's virtualization software, which essentially divides one physical server into multiple virtual environments. For example, Monsanto was able to consolidate 40 servers running an Oracle database in the SAP environment to just three servers.
Looking only at the building infrastructure, Showers says, the new data center is 27 percent more energy efficient than the old building. Energy consumed by computers is a somewhat different story.
Even though technologies like server virtualization and more powerful dual-core blade servers have meant Monsanto can do a lot more with its existing infrastructure, its overall computing needs are growing rapidly-30 percent over the last 12 months.
That means total energy consumption is remaining the same or growing, so there's still plenty of room for improvement.
Close to 150 employees worked in the old data center building, a number that was uncomfortably high for Monsanto. While physical security precautions restricted access to sensitive systems, Monsanto wanted to reduce the number of non-IT personnel in the building. The new building can operate with just seven full-time employees, which greatly improves the physical security profile.
"With a separate building we were really able to segregate it and significantly limit who can have access," Showers says. "That in itself is a major improvement for us."