Pennsylvania county keeps downtime down

Pennsylvania county keeps downtime down

With a staff of 46, the Montgomery County, Pa., Information Services Department supports 2,000 applications in 47 county departments at 16 locations. It chose fault-tolerant servers from NEC Computers Inc. of Boxborough, Mass., to host four types of applications that mustn't fail: elections, jail management, imaging, and print and file services.

The county's election management system cannot afford a single point of failure, said Dale Pennapacker, the IS director. The 496,000 voters use 1,100 electronic voting machines at 402 polling locations. The results, downloaded from cartridges on the voting machines every half-hour, are final on the county's Web site by midnight.

The jailhouse system tracks more than 1,000 inmates and requires 100 percent uptime, Pennapacker said. His staff also is installing an NEC server to replace four Hewlett-Packard Co. jukeboxes that support imaging applications for four departments, he said. By June, the server's attached storage will retain 125G of imaging information.

A fourth job for the NEC Express5800/ft series servers is file and print services. 'We were installing a lot of small file servers to maintain an adequate level of service and reliability,' Pennapacker said. Now the county can consolidate several servers into one to reduce storage and licensing costs, he said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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