[Note: This is the first in a series of stories that will chronicle the department’s Information Technology transition. Ensuing articles will focus on a new Division of Motor Vehicles technology solution, an upgrade to computer aided drafting, IT modernization projects, the Technology Investment Program and the Information Technology governance model.)
A new two-mile highway recently was built that will carry data from computer terminals at ITD to a mainframe computer located at the State Controller’s Office (SCO) in downtown Boise.
The endless roundtrips will take place so quickly and seamlessly that users at Headquarters will not detect a difference in the way they process or store data.
Removal of ITD’s mainframe computer and shifting the processing and storage of about one-half of the department’s data is part of an Information Technology infrastructure modernization project.
It began with establishing a new high-speed, high capacity “dense wave fiber pipe” link with the SCO, explains Don Bernaiche, who joined the IT Project Management Office about three months ago.
He oversees IT information modernization projects that introduce new methodologies to ensure successful project deliveries. The process represents an effort to bring standardized IT project management methodologies to projects, he explains.
“Our mainframe was due for replacement in a couple of years, and we determined that we could reduce costs and increase efficiency by moving our data to SCO,” he said. The Controller’s Office mainframe already serves several other state agencies such as the Department of Health and Welfare.
Most of the applications and data that will migrate from ITD Headquarters to the SCO mainframe are related to the Division of Motor Vehicles functions, Bernaiche explains.
Dave Merriweather, an outside project management consultant, has the responsibility of managing the second phase of the mainframe migration which is to move data and applications to the server downtown and removal of the aging equipment from Headquarters.
He brings extensive experience and success in delivering infrastructure projects from his work in the private sector. The third phase will be to move applications over to Enterprise Cobalt, a new operating system on the SCO mainframe.
Testing of the transfer, including applications, batch processing and the communications link to customers, began early this week (July 10) and will continue through September.
Copying of actual data and “cut-in” will take place during a weekend, and the conversion should go live Oct. 15.
The process should be transparent for users, Bernaiche explains. Computer workstations will be linked to the SCO mainframe, rather than the old unit at Headquarters. But there should be no noticeable differences.
Several immediate and long-term benefits will result:
“It’s a way of meeting ITD’s goals of improving service and customer support while assigning staff members to fill needed roles within ITD,” Bernaiche said.
“We need to be able to keep pace with change. This initiative will allow us to remain more current by establishing a strategic partnership with another state agency.”