The city will soon upgrade its virtual infrastructure.

The city’s informational technology department is purchasing the two nodes necessary for the upgrade from Austin-based Freeit Data Solutions for about $163,000 with the unanimous approval of the city council last Tuesday during a regular meeting.

The new equipment will go into two of the city’s three data centers, and comes with software and five years of support, the resolution reads.

“Over the past couple years, we’ve upgraded a number of what we deem as infrastructure platforms in the world of technology, and this is just the next one up,” Seguin Director of IT Shane McDaniel said. “This is the system’s infrastructure, which is the back end of how all of our virtual servers integrate together. As it stands, we have over 100 of them that basically run different software applications for the city.”

The virtual systems infrastructure is connected to many aspects of the city, McDaniel said.

“So you compile everything that runs every department, every facet, every transaction of the financial systems, all the public safety stuff – it resides within the systems infrastructure,” he said.

The last time the infrastructure received an upgrade was nearly a decade ago, McDaniel said.

“With it dating back to 2011, typically, around year five to seven (years) is whenever you want to start upgrading these very expensive yet critical systems,” McDaniel said. “We’re a little past due on that, but it also makes sense because the earliest pieces date back to 2011, but it’s been pieced together as the technology [progresses].”

A technical fallback could hit if systems are not appropriately updated, McDaniel said.

“It’s not a problem until it’s a problem,” he said. “Let’s say our current system infrastructure dating back to 2011 – if we’re starting to see failures here and there, we lose maybe a third of our systems infrastructure. Perhaps something that’s not replicating, it’s less critical, and it’s not backing up over at the other data center. All of a sudden, that department or that software that whoever relies on is no longer accessible. So their process is they’ll have to kind of revert back to paper or some other means.”

The upgrades to the virtual infrastructure are necessary to transition to a more compact platform, he said.

“So we’re moving to a platform called hyperconvergence and hyperconvergence basically means you take a big system and you convert it down to a smaller physical footprint,” McDaniel said. “Everything is contained in the same box, if you will. So that’s what we’re migrating to.”

The transition may happen as soon as next month, however, due to the impact of the coronavirus, some delays may occur, McDaniel said.

“A lot of the hardware comes out of Asia and whatnot, so there’s no getting around that,” he said.

“This is year one of a two-year year project to get the technology into all three of our data centers, so we will be purchasing two of the nodes, and we’ll add a third in the next fiscal year.”

The motion to approve the resolution for the purchase was made by Councilman Chris Rangel and seconded by Councilman Christopher Aviles.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com .

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