EDM is responsible for four areas of Redwood City Information Technology operations:
- From City Hall and beyond …………Wide Area Network.
- The Non Stop Nerve Center (City Hall Data Center), ………….and
- The good old PC with lots of power
From City Hall and beyond …………………
The city relies primarily on two modes of long distance communications to connect remote buildings such as Fire Stations, Library, Police Department, and Parks and recreation to City Hall: fiber and AT&T leased lines. Fiber provides a very fast mode of communication where network traffic travels 1,000 megabits per second. The leased lines provide a maximum speed of 1.5 megabits. Over time, the City has worked with various cable network providers such as RCN, and Comcast to replace all the slow leased lines to fiber. By March 2008, all leased lines to remote sites will be replaced by fiber. The transition to high-speed fiber will save the City on the cost of leased lines and allow for running applications that require higher bandwidth such as video conferencing, where City Department Heads may be sitting in their own offices and conducting a weekly meeting with other staff, who are sitting at their own desks in other buildings.
Computers and computer networks are critical to the day-to-day operations of the City, in order to effectively continue to provide important City services to the community.
It is therefore vital that these networks are monitored and maintained in excellent condition. This is a key responsibility of EDM. The responsibility of managing these operations also includes making sure that all City employees have access to network resources such as Internet, data files, email, and various applications that are critical to the business operations of the City.
EDM is further responsible for managing and maintaining the phone network for City facilities. The City’s internal phone network runs very similar to a home phone network except that the City owns and operates its own PBX system. This system is connected via serial lines, throughout City facilities.
The future of networking technology will see voice and computer network operations converging and running on the same network. This convergence will redefine the meaning and everyday use of a telephone because it will do much more than just be a tool to answer phone calls. The future for the City is already here. With the installation of fiber to all the remote buildings being completed, EDM will start deploying Voice over IP phones to the remote buildings.
The Non Stop Nerve Center ………….
The Redwood City Data Center resides at City Hall. Currently the data center consists of several servers providing network applications such as email, internet, payroll, accounting, building permits, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), etc. These servers also act as a resource for user data files, printing, and faxing. The PC’s rely heavily on these servers and it is therefore imperative to keep data center operations running smoothly 24 hours a day, 7days a week. EDM’s duties comprise of monitoring the overall health of the servers; responding efficiently and quickly to failures with respect to hardware and software; and keeping a vigilant eye on network security.
EDM is responsible for maintaining about 25-30 servers running various flavors of Windows server operating systems that are serving various applications such as email, web services, payroll and accounting, fax, print services and user data.
The good old PC with lots of power ………..
EDM is responsible for supporting and maintaining all City employee’s desktop PCs. There are approximately 550 PC’s and about 100 printers on the network. Responsibilities in this arena include providing support for various business applications; making sure that the user is connected to all network resources such as email, data, and printers; provide purchasing support for new hardware such as desktop PCs, printers, scanners, and Palm Pilots (also known as personal digital assistants – PDA).
User support is provided via a hotline number where employees call in and talk to a help desk support person. Otherwise they log a “ticket” into an online IT help ticket system called HITS, which sends their request electronically to the Desktop Support staff. This is a web-based customized application developed internally to fit the needs of the organization.
A typical day in the life of a technical support specialist consists of responding to calls or ‘tickets’ from various users who may be running into problems using their computers.