Councilwoman Jodi Giglio at a town board work session last month. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio put the brakes on a proposal submitted by the town’s IT consulting firm for transitioning town government to cloud-based computing — using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process its data. The councilwoman said she wants to see cost comparisons for other cloud companies before she’ll agree to the consultant’s proposal.

Town financial administrator William Rothaar yesterday asked the board to authorize the town’s IT consultant to begin the testing necessary to make sure a switch to cloud-based computing is feasible for the town. That requires “proof of concept” testing — running each of the software programs used by the town on a cloud-based server to test compatibility, representatives of Melville-based Total Technology Solutions told the town board at a work session meeting last month.

The testing period could take five or six months, Rothaar said yesterday. He’d like it to get underway.

Most town government departments are currently using a networked server that is at or even past the end of its useful life. The equipment is no longer even being supported by the manufacturer.

Rothaar has been urging the town board to replace the aged system for several years.

Town board members agree the current hardware must be replaced and they have also agreed transitioning to the cloud — rather than acquiring and maintaining new computer hardware locally — is the way to go.

That decision came at the urging of the Total Technology Solutions, an IT consultant the town board hired last December to provide IT support services, including maintenance, management assistance, monitoring, troubleshooting and 24/7 support.

Representatives of Total Technology laid out the firm’s recommendations for the town at the board’s Nov. 8 work session. Their proposal is to purchase 135 work stations and a small server — for the town’s GIS (geographic information system) and CAD (computer-aided design) applications which are not currently cloud-friendly and would be cost-prohibitive to host in the cloud.

The initial cost to the town would be about $140,000, with an estimated storage cost of $13,500 per month. Total Technology recommended a company called Neverfail.

“You’re only charged for what you actually use,” Total Technology’s chief technology officer Chris Repetti said.

The cost of a new local server and other hardware would be about $750,000, according to Total Technology. The town would also bear the cost of ongoing maintenance and upgrades, financial administrator William Rothaar pointed out.

Neverfail, which has been in business over 20 years, operates data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, Total Technology senior engineer Paul Nevola told the board at its Nov. 8 work session. It guarantees 100-percent uptime and serves both private and public sector organizations, he said.

Yesterday, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio objected to moving forward with the plan presented by Total Technology until the board is provided with cloud storage costs with other companies. She said she’d like to see quotes from one of the leading cloud storage companies, like Amazon or Google.

“I’ve been told the price they [Total Technology Solutions] quoted is high,” Giglio said. “I’d like to see quotes from other cloud-based servers,” she said.

Rothaar said Total Technology already did the comparison-shopping for the town as part of its consulting services.

“Well, I’d like to see the quotes and I’d like to see the proposals from them also, to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples,” Giglio said.

Cloud pricing depends on how much storage space is needed as well as how much — and what type of — activity is taking place.

Rothaar agreed to obtain and provide the information Giglio requested.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.