[Note: This is the fifth part of a series explaining the department’s Information Technology Transition. Ensuing articles will focus on IT modernization projects and the Information Technology governance model.]
Although many ITD employees won’t notice much difference in their daily computer use, three major projects taking place in the background will have significant impacts on the department’s technology infrastructure.
The department has launched an Information Technology
Infrastructure Modernization initiative to significantly upgrade hardware
that run its complex array of computer programs.
The projects will replace backup servers in each of ITD’s six districts, introduce a new software solution that enables the functions of many servers to reside on just one server and standardize and configure servers in each of the districts to ensure compatibility.
District backup server replacement:
Three of the six district backup servers have been replaced; the remaining three should be installed by November, according to Bernaiche. All of the backup servers will operate on the same environment – Microsoft Windows 2003. Standardization of the file systems allows sharing of information among the various districts. This supports the new CADD system being implemented ensuring the districts and Headquarters have the ability to support each other as needed.
VM Ware Pilot project:
“One of the biggest benefits will come from the reduction in physical servers in the data center,” according to the project description.
Many of the servers have surpassed their life expectancy and need to be replaced. VM Ware will reduce the number of replacements and make regular upgrades and maintenance easier to perform. The new software also will provide redundancy – automatically shifting functions from one portion of the server to another in the event of an isolated failure.
The project team is validating the VM Ware in a test environment to ensure functionality. If it proves successful, ITD will invest in the technology for the production environment. The test environment phase is scheduled to be complete in early November.
A project that is loosely related to the VM Ware addresses the end of support for a significant number of the non-mainframe servers at the Headquarters data center. Servers of a critical nature that needed immediate replacement have been replaced. As support agreements expire for other critical servers in the future, they will be replaced with compatible, standardized equipment.
The “non-mainframe server modernization” will enable ITD to develop a regular upgrade/replacement schedule, instead of responding to isolated server demands as they occur.
District server configuration
“As part of this project, it was also evident that there was an opportunity to standardize configurations across the districts and maximize disk space on the servers,” according to the project description.
“The primary objectives are to replace the server configurations in all six districts and train 12 district people to manage the district equipment…” The result will be a scalable, redundant server and storage solution with a life expectancy of about three years.