The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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October 29, 2012

New IT equipment should save county funds in future


Two new servers that handle the bulk of the county’s information technology needs should be in place by the first of the year, said Auditor Roger Corlett.

Commissioners last week approved the $200,000 appropriation for the equipment, which is expected to save the county money in energy consumption, maintenance, software licensing and manpower for years to come.

“I think it’s going to help us keep our costs down,” said Corlett, who is a member of the county’s data board.

The board also includes representation from the commissioners, prosecutor’s office, clerk of courts, board of elections, treasurer, recorder, sheriff and county engineer. Most of those offices and several others depend upon the county’s servers for their information technology needs. The sheriff’s department and 9-1-1 have their own set of servers to handle their unique data needs. The courts also have their own system, which was purchased using their special projects funds.

Corlett said there are more than 20 servers, plus associated routers, switchers and other devices serving the balance of the county’s offices. Two or three years down the road, all of that will be replaced by the two new servers that are on order.

The reduction in hardware is made possible by “virtualization” technology, which creates a number of virtual servers on one physical server. The two servers will operate in tandem to make sure there is no interruption in service in the event one of them experiences a problem.

The new system also includes a much more sophisticated real-time backup of the servers than the current tape-based process. Corlett said the tapes must be transported to a bank vault by an employee every day.

“This is going to help us with our disaster recovery plan,” Corlett said. “Our auditors always want us to keep coming up with a better plan.”

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