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County commissioners approve server replacement purchase

As Madison County employees learned earlier this year when their county emails were down for several weeks, a functioning server is key to success for their jobs. With that in mind, Madison County Information Technology Director Brett Schriock came to the county commissioners in late April with a request for a new server. Schriock provided some background for the commissioners, explaining that the county’s exchange server, part of the larger server, went down earlier this year causing the communication crash. Now, the other parts of the main server are failing. Schriock must now check the server daily before employees get to work to ensure it’ll be functional.

“Old devices die,” Schriock told the commissioners. “And so, the challenge we’re facing now is the server is at end of life." Schriock likened the county’s main server to a work horse, “it’s like a big road grader, and important piece of equipment for all the offices,” he said.

DIS Technologies provided Schriock with a proposal including a server listed at $19,000 for the reduced cost of $6,500. Schriock said the server would be more than capable of providing the county with five years of use – five years being the typical life of a computer of its kind. The total cost for the equipment and other services came to $15,481.

Getting the replacement server is a task Schriock said would best be done sooner than later.

Three other servers are also needed for the county, including one for public health which will have its own separate network as Covid has resulted in more sensitive information being handled at the county level, and two more for each of the county’s nursing homes.

In total, the four new servers and assistance from DIS for the main server, the county’s “work horse,” would come at a cost of around $60,000.

For now, though, Schriock was focused on getting that main server purchased and up and running. “I want this done right,” he said.

Commissioner Jim Hart said he understands the need, recalling the not so long ago crunch when the county’s emails were down for weeks. “You’re talking to the choir,” said Commissioner Hart. “When things go down this place can’t function.”

The question, then, was where the money to pay for the server would come from. IT had some funds in its coffers and the commissioners approved using funds from the commissioners contingency fund. The commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the DIS proposal and server purchase.

“I look forward to clearing that all up,” said Commissioner Hart. Schriock agreed, “This is the continuation in increasing the capability of our departments,” he said.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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