City of CW looks to upgrade its technology

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Looking to stay ahead of the information technology learning curve, Canal Winchester is investigating ways to keep the city up-to-date on its technological infrastructure.

Technology Coordinator Rick Brown said the city traditionally purchased computer and software related items when needed, but needs to change with the times and look to the future.

“Right now, we feel we’re in excellent shape in creating a five-year plan,” said Brown. “We’re looking at needs and roles. The idea now with servers is visualization. Our servers are very old. Our software is very old as well. It’s gotten to the time to replace things.”

According to Brown, a central control server—a system of software and hardware connecting and managing resources and services throughout a network of computers—was purchased in 2004. Generic servers and storage were purchased four years later. In 2012, user/role specific service oriented servers were added to the city’s inventory.

Following the current technology path, Canal Winchester would replace five servers and add two, upgrade the operating system and software, manually manage, and have limited space and power.

Under Brown’s proposed path, six servers would be replaced with planning for 12 virtual machines, along with myriad upgrades, a small footprint and the potential to qualify for a licensing agreement offering a 25 percent savings on software.

Over the course of the five-year plan, Brown estimated a total cost savings of $66,236. The current annual plan costs the city $59,134. The technology coordinator said the cost would drop to $45,887 under the proposed plan.

“We have a few options for payment (for the initial system upgrade),” said Finance Director Amanda Jackson. “We’re leaning toward a lease agreement. By leasing it, it’s a more workable number than a six-figure digit. Technology changes so often, we know we’re going to have to change things.”

City Councilman Steve Donahue suggested setting aside a certain percent of the city’s budget for technology.

“I think it’s good to look ahead instead of being behind,” said Donahue.

City Councilman Rick Deeds said the city is looking at a couple of different options in addressing server technology.

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