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Why is New Hanover paying $17,500 a month for email and $16,500 for website hosting?

Kevin Maurer

Leslie Chaney, New Hanover County information technology director, said in last year the county had problems with its email system and sought an upgrade for it and their Internet and intranet (SharePoint) system. Chaney said her department evaluated keeping in house service or converting to a cloud-based service, but decided to move to a hosted environment.

“The most important was our need to have email and Internet available even if our data center was off line. One of the other factors was the increasing demand for storage of email. We are required to archive county email for eDiscovery and public records requests, and our current storage and backup solutions were not adequate to meet the demand. We are also moving file storage to SharePoint, and our existing installation could not handle the almost 4 terabytes of data that we currently have in file stores,” Chaney said in an email. “Rather than try to create the redundancy of a second data center or increase the capacity of our storage and backup solutions, we chose to go to a hosted solution.”

Working through their partnership with Microsoft and Genisys’s partnership with Microsoft, the county was able to create a remote data center and got dedicated servers. She said the county now has “more redundancy and capacity in these critical services than we have ever had” and the contract is more than just email and website hosting. The county also has the ability to integrate with the existing telephone system.

Chaney said formal bidding is not required on service contracts.

“They were the only vendor (others were State of NC, Google, and Microsoft BPOS) that we evaluated able to meet all of our requirements including integration with the County’s active directory in real time, external SharePoint web site hosting and multi-site SharePoint intranet hosting. They were able to meet all of our security requirements (FISMA, HIPAA, and CJIS), storage requirements, and retention requirements,” Chaney said. “We were able to eliminate some capital funding requirements for additional storage, servers, and backup capacity by moving to a hosted environment, and since Genisys manages the systems, we do not have to devote personnel resources to the management of these servers. We also get anti-spam and archival services which were eliminated from the IT budget in lieu of the new contract with Genisys.”

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7 Responses to “ Why is New Hanover paying $17,500 a month for email and $16,500 for website hosting?”

  1. On June 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm Brian wrote:

    Those amounts could fund two very well paying _local_ full time jobs, AND pay for co-located servers in redundant data centers.

  2. On June 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm Anonymous wrote:

    Can’t wait till e-discovery or mimosa poops on itself and Genysis turns around and asks for more money to keep useless emails. Classic government bureaucracy and stupid laws. European government are running open source for a reason. Open stack clusters?? Linux??

  3. On June 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm The Wilmington Watcher wrote:

    Yes – that is ridiculous. Sounds like some padded charges in there somewhere. Technology today can easily serve the needs of the county for far less. Where is the money really going?

  4. On June 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm IT Ninja wrote:

    So much for disaster recovery when your “hosted, state of the art data-center” is located only 50 miles away”. I really hope they have redundant links/data centers…..

  5. On June 16, 2011 at 8:46 am Michael wrote:

    This is the a ridiculous waste of money. $35000/month!? INSANE. I have been in IT for a long time and servers don’t cost but $5,000 a piece, at most. Sounds to me like the Leslie lady either has no clue what she is doing, or is being forced upon this bloated solution because of someone having dirt on someone. They could have gotten rack space in a 5 9s datacenter for the seld managed servers and saved a ton. I am sure a little mom and pop shop like Genisys isn’t 5 9s. Just another example of government wasting our money, but now we know exactly what moron is doing it. Thanks Leslie, you do not deserve your job if this is the solution you came up with. I suspect it is all about head count. They probably wanted to eliminate heads. I am pretty sure an Exchange/Sharepoint admin is less cost than 35k a month. Leslie you should be ashamed of yourself.

  6. On June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am CitizenX wrote:

    Follow the money trail! How exactly did this contract come about? Did the County seek out a hosting solution, or did the solution seek out the County? When there are hundreds of reputable vendors out there (local/regional) offering the same solution and or services for half the price, I find it hard to believe that due diligence was negotiated at $400K a year… it doesn’t ADD up! Don’t take my word for it, do your own research. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy an overly expensive County website OUR tax dollars pay for each month! Good stewards of tax dollars? I think NOT!

  7. On June 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm Michael wrote:

    CitizenX, Half the price?!! Man I know cloud based email providers, including Microsoft (Who wrote the email software!) that charge $4 per person for 25 gigs of storage, and archive. $4!!! $35,000 / 4 is 8750 mailboxes. Does the county have 8000 employees?

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