Countywide network upgrade in the works

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Information and Technical servers will be upgraded in a county wide network upgrade project. Photo provided by Michael Carr.

EL CENTRO – The Imperial County Information and Technical Services (ITS) Department has been approved for a countywide network upgrade project, involving upgrades to infrastructure and implementation of a disaster recovery backup.

Michael Carr, Imperial County’s Information Systems Manager, said he has known the need for an upgrade since he started working with the county, and he has pushed to get the support needed for the upgrade.

In order to comply with the 2020 strategic plan, new equipment will need to be purchased, since most of the hardware, servers, and security devices are more than eight years old and out of warranty.

The county has recently experienced two servers crash due to a lack of storage space to conduct full backups and maintain them for more than two weeks.

“We were already working on the plans for the upgrade when the crashes occurred. We didn’t lose any data, but it put this upgrade on the radar,” said Carr.

The ITS Department anticipates the network upgrade will strengthen the ability to offer more desirable services to Imperial County residents such as paying bills online and e-commerce.

The network upgrade is expected to take up to 18 months to complete and the anticipated cost is $1.2 million. Approximately 2,500 computers will be upgraded along with 145 servers, network switches, and cabling.

Carr explained that the physical servers would be condensed down to 50, while the remaining servers would become virtual technology. This will help to make the department more energy efficient and it will act as a space saver.

This upgrade will impact several departments throughout the county. For example, the police stations, public health departments, and veterans’ services are just a few of the upcoming upgrades. The ITS department has already received several new parts needed for the upgrade, Carr said.

Since the upgrade is countywide, Carr said they have a generous estimate of 18 months for completion. To replace servers, the ITS department has to work around the business hours of other county departments.

“When we do the server upgrade for the police departments, we will need to do it on the fly, because they need to be able to access their information,” said Carr.

Despite the difficulties the upgrade may bring, Carr expressed his excitement to be able to serve the community more efficiently.

“It’s our duty to serve the citizens of the county. We want to provide better access and more services,” he said.