City of Ocala to make big tech purchases in 2024
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The Ocala City Council has approved nearly $1 million worth of purchasing agreements for new citywide technology and equipment to replace older units that have reached the end of their lifespans.
The city will buy new equipment such as desktops, laptops, tablets and servers across all city departments, Christopher Ramos, assistant director of cyber and physical security, said at the council’s Oct. 3 meeting.
“Proactively replacing these devices will provide the reliability and security which will enable us to continue to improve the operational excellence of our city’s computing infrastructure,” Ramos said.
The funds will come from the city’s 2023-24 Fiscal Year Budget, which includes an Information Technology Capital Improvement plan to upkeep the city’s operations.
The IT department has a capital improvement plan every year, part of which includes taking inventory of what devices each city department has, how old they are, what needs replacing and what additional items each department may need. The city has technology expenditures every year, and those costs fluctuate from year to year depending on the need, Ramos said.
“The request to purchase mid-end laptops, high-end laptops, standard laptops with docking stations, and monitors will replace devices that are over six years old and cannot be upgraded to Windows 11,” according to the meeting agenda.
The Ocala Police Department will receive a significant amount of new equipment, including 72 laptops and 25 desktops, totaling at $204,900. The majority of city departments will see laptop replacements, which will serve a specific purpose, according to the capital improvement plan.
“Replacing them will provide staff with one device to use in the office and remotely, which will serve as a cost savings for the city,” according to the agenda.
This year, however, the city must undertake a project that exceeds the normal maintenance they pay for each year. Costs associated with a “vSAN” replacement total $301,778, with equipment purchased from Dell Technologies.
“It’s to replace the server infrastructure, and that is the back end that basically manages all the critical servers for the city,” Ramos said.
“Come February next year, (it will be) seven years old, and it’s not going to be upgradeable to the version of the software it’s needed to be on,” he said. “Also, Dell is not going to be offering us pro support on that (old) server infrastructure.”