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County buys new data storage, recovery system

By Amy Chaffins

Douglas County will invest in a new data backup system.

Last Tuesday, commissioners approved the purchase of a data backup and disaster recovery system for $59,999.

“For the amount of data that we’re producing, this is a cost-effective solution. It’s also a process improvement within our office,” said Brent Birkeland, Douglas County information technology director. “It’s very urgent and we’ve been looking at some solutions for the better part of the year as part of our strategic planning efforts.

“As the complexities increase, we haven’t really changed our process as we’ve gone along,” he added. “The solution we came up with is a combination of an on-premise backup solution with a cloud-based disaster recovery – a backup to the backup so to speak,” he explained.

Since the majority of records the county needs to back up are land records, related levy dollars won’t be used to purchase the system, rather recording fees from the Douglas County Record-er’s office will be used.

The new system maintenance and support require an annual fee of $25,000.

“In terms of disaster recovery, I believe a complete solution that covers the amount of data we have as well as all facilities and systems for $38.35/day is a good value,” Birkeland noted.

The maintenance fee will be funded through the land records modernization fund. Other projects that have used the funds include high resolution aerial photography acquisition and development of Geographic Information Systems.

Commissioner Charlie Meyer winced a bit when Birkeland reported the $25,000 annual fee.

“It does seem excessive, but when we run the numbers, the amount of data that we produce and the amount of data that keeps growing would surprise you,” Birkeland told Meyer.

“The cloud-based solution is for entities that will be backing up more than five terabytes; when you get to that threshold or more, that’s where it becomes more cost-effective… we’re going to be backing up in the area of eight terabytes today and that number keeps growing,” Birkeland said.

The life expectancy of the system is reportedly about five years.

The new disaster recovery and backup system covers all county departments.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133