Accessing, managing and safeguarding critical information relating to these and many other areas are elemental to the everyday business of operating a municipality and are essential to providing citizens with the services they need and the quality of life they expect.
Woodridge relies on over a dozen applications developed, implemented and maintained by service provider, SunGard Public Sector, running on the IBM i, to help administer the village’s internal processes and financials, as well as the full gamut of its transactions with the public. Sue Macauda, IT Coordinator for Woodridge, is the individual responsible for managing those applications and ensuring that current data remains accessible to village administrators. “Payroll records for 160 village employees, water billing records for nearly 9,500 residences, work orders, cash receipts, building permits, purchasing and inventory – you name it. Losing that data would be absolutely devastating,” says Macauda. “I don’t even want to think about how we would rebuild everything manually, particularly if we lost our paper records along with our electronic data. And in a tornado you would think most everything would be gone. Just recreating the water billing alone – with payments coming in online, with credit cards, in over-the-counter cash transactions or checks in the mail – would be a massive administrative challenge that would take weeks.”
The village’s disaster recovery plan consisted of sending backup tapes offsite to another building within the municipal complex once a week, an approach that became less and less viable as village leaders contemplated the time and effort that would be required to recreate the sheer volume and complexity of Woodridge’s data should any type of unforeseen event destroy its records.
In 2007, motivated in part by the experience of a neighboring municipality, which had been thrown into total disarray by a recent fire that had destroyed all its data and paper records, Woodridge decided to upgrade its disaster recovery capabilities. Once that decision was made, they looked to their trusted partner, SunGard Public Sector, for guidance.
SunGard Public Sector, which offers Disaster Recovery as an option to all its clients, had previously evaluated High Availability & Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) providers and had chosen to partner with Maxava to sell, implement and service its Maxava HA Enterprise product, so the decision from Woodridge’s perspective was an easy one. “We have a long relationship with SunGard Public Sector, so we didn’t have to evaluate all the different possibilities out there,” says Macauda.
It’s kind of a nobrainer because Maxava HA Enterprise works seamlessly with all of the SunGard Public Sector applications we already use.
“We have over 1,000 local governments and municipalities as customers, ” says Tom Argalas, Senior Manager, Client Services Technical Operations for SunGard Public Sector. “Maxava HA Enterprise has all the functionality our clients need and it is robust enough to integrate very well with all of our applications, whether it be one of our older, less flexible products, or one of our newer applications.” Woodridge utilizes Maxava HA Enterprise for one-way replication, with the village’s IBM i server acting as the production machine and a SunGard Public Sector-hosted server as its target machine.
Fortunately, since implementing Maxava HA in mid-2007 Woodridge has not yet had cause to use the Maxava HA Enterprise solution. According to Macauda, the day-to-day monitoring service provided by SunGard Public Sector limits her interaction with Maxava HA Enterprise to periodic tests and quick status checks, all of which bolster her confidence should any disaster occur. “I see [Maxava HA Enterprise] running out there, and everything is journaling and behaving just as it should. Basically, it runs itself, which is a considerable benefit for us, because we have a very small IT staff,” she says. “And when we tested Maxava HA Enterprise, it worked seamlessly. We logged onto the target system at SunGard Public Sector and all our data was there and up to date. We could enter transactions and see them instantly, so we know it’s doing its job.”
And with a Board of Trustees to report to, Macauda also emphasizes the importance of the peace-of-mind Maxava HA Enterprise provides. “I can go back to my board and assure them that the Maxava solution is constantly replicating our data in real-time, so if we were to have a natural disaster here we would be up and running with full access to our data within a matter of hours.”