The Canal Winchester Times

Canal Winchester

IT coordinator proposes five-year upgrade plan

By

A $4,000 upgrade to the city's server room is just part of a five-year improvement plan Canal Winchester's information technology coordinator hopes to implement.

IT Coordinator Rick Brown presented city council members with his infrastructure optimization plan Aug. 4. In addition to investing $4,000 in upgrades to the current IT server room located at the wastewater treatment plant, the proposal includes spending approximately $59,000 annually for three to five years to install one new, virtualized server to replace the six existing "end of life cycle" units.

"We traditionally have bought things on an as-needed, emergency basis," Brown said. "Over the past year, we've been creating a five-year plan for both the desktop computers and our servers by looking at best practices to decide what direction to go in."

According to Brown, the city's current IT infrastructure is a mixture of software and standalone products that require a lot of maintenance time as well as additional expense in keeping software licensing up-to-date.

"In 2004, the city had one central server which, over time, became several servers. The idea now is using virtualization so we can buy a small number of hardware pieces but then use virtual software to accomplish the same thing, instead of having additional hardware and software expense," Brown said. "By dividing up a new server into virtual machines to replace what we have, we can save the city about 25 percent annually."

Between the hardware purchase and bringing all of the city's software licenses into a state-negotiated enterprise agreement, Canal Winchester would save about $66,000 over the five-year plan, he said.

Finance Director Amanda Jackson said ultimately, this move would mean setting aside a very small portion of the annual city budget specifically for technology. However, she said, she won't pursue financing options until council members agree on the direction they want Brown to take.

"We have a few options, but until we decide what direction we're going in, we'll have to decide exactly how to pay for it once we've made a decision," Jackson said.

She said whatever is decided, the plan will help stabilize the amount of money spent on technology going forward, making it easier to budget.

Council is scheduled to vote on the $4,000 server room upgrade at its Sept. 2 meeting. The rest of the technology investment proposal has not yet been formally submitted for council approval.

Comments