Running on a soon-to-be outdated platform, computer systems used by the city of North Olmsted are on the verge of an upgrade.
Currently using the Windows 7 operating system that is no longer providing updates, City Council is likely to approve of the purchase of new computers and related equipment – at a cost of $47,886.65 – this month, to be paid for with its operating funds.
When replacing roughly 275 computers used by city employees, the idea hasn’t been to go with state-of-the-art changes, but to merely keep in line with where technology is currently, according to North Olmsted network architect Eric Lundberg.
“It’s about the transition from Windows 7, which is at the end of life and supported on a limited basis, to a Windows 2019 server and Windows 10 (operating system),” he said. “We’re going from a standard, traditional tower desktop for everybody to what is called a ‘zero footprint’ or small Intel NUC.”
The small computers will be mounted on the back of each monitor, and each unit will come with a new wireless keyboard and mouse. Lundberg said they won’t require the use of disks for programs and will run much faster than the current models in place.
“They’re very high-performance,” Lundberg said.
The project has been on the city’s radar for at least a year, and the hope was that it could’ve gotten started as soon as February or March, but COVID-19 and unforeseen issues related to City Hall’s ability to handle increased power usage pushed back the time frame.
“We initially tried to do it last year while we were doing a significant upgrade in our server platform, but we ran into some issues with power across the City Hall facility, and had to make sure we shored up the infrastructure with the power,” Lundberg said. “We were able to get into a much better place as far as power resiliency, redundancy and reliability, basically.”
Early this year, the computer systems used by the police and fire departments were upgraded with similar small NUC computers, as well as Microsoft SurfacePro laptops, which were installed in police and fire vehicles.
Soon, the rest of the city’s departments will get up to date.
“We’re hoping we get final approval from council by the end of October, so we’ll start the upgrade process probably by mid-November, and hope to be done by the first quarter of 2021,” Lundberg said. “We’ll be updated and at the latest and greatest model available from Microsoft. Much better performance, better security, reliability, stability and overall better format to run the city network for all employees...We’re trying to keep up to date and maybe not be leading edge, but be current and flexible moving forward with modern architecture.”
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