As population grows, Texas city readies tech infrastructure

Bee Cave plans to install a Gigabit Ethernet network, a document management system and a backup plan built around a virtual tape library.

Bee Cave, Texas, is implementing a multipart technology program as the small city prepares for rapid growth. The city’s project list includes a Gigabit Ethernet network, a document management system and a backup plan built around a virtual tape library. Bee Cave tapped CDW-Government to evaluate technology options and source solutions. The building of a new city hall provided an opportunity to install new infrastructure components, said Richard Reynolds, Bee Cave’s chief technology officer. “The timing happened to be perfect with the construction of a new city hall.” The technology investment comes as the city, located a few miles west of Austin, braces for dramatic growth. In 1990, Bee Cave had 214 inhabitants. It now has an estimated population of 1,700, and Austin’s Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, according to figures cited in the Austin American Statesman, anticipates that more than 114,700 people will move into the area in the next 25 years. Bee Cave’s city hall, situated at the Hill Country Galleria, recently opened. But work continues on the various technology projects. On the networking side, the city is leasing lines from a local Internet service provider as an interim measure. Later this year, it will deploy a Gigabit Ethernet network with site-to-site connectivity provided via a microwave bridge. Voice-over-IP capabilities are also part of the technology deployment. Reynolds said Bee Cave has been using VOIP for two years. But now the city is integrating VOIP with Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging. The new network will also have wireless capabilities. Foundry Networks, a switch and router vendor, will provide networking gear for the city’s wired, wireless and VOIP components, said Mark Griffith, senior field account executive at CDW-G. In addition to those networking elements, Bee Cave is implementing document management and collaboration systems. Reynolds said the new platforms will help the city meet open records requests and take city council meetings to a paperless agenda. As for data protection, the city plans to replace tape-based backup systems with virtual tape libraries. Reynolds said the tape systems are costly from a media perspective, adding that restoring data takes a long time. Griffith said data will be replicated from the virtual tape library in the new city hall to a second library in the former city hall, which now houses the police department and other offices. Overland Storage is the virtual tape library supplier. Griffith said Bee Cave’s deployment of an entirely new infrastructure is unusual. “Rarely do we have an opportunity to start from scratch.”
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