We are publishing a series or articles on the savings the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) has achieved over the past few years. These were originally published in a series of weekly newletters:
In today’s economy it’s all about making shrinking dollars go further and LANta is doing its best to keep costs down. Over the next few weeks, we intend to highlight various areas of LANta operations and focus on efforts to keep costs down.
Information technology (IT) is one of the major costs any business has today. Hodges Technology, Inc. (HTI) of Easton is LAnta’s subcontracted IT Department and one of their goals is to reduce the need for costly IT infrastructure investments.
1. About 1 ½ years ago HTI looked into changing the data communications system from a T1 line to a dedicated high-speed fiber-optic system. At that time LANTA was using two T1 circuits with a total of 3Mg /second bandwidth and LANta was paying close to $1,268 a month. RCN fiber-optic lines are now providing LANta 20Mg /second of dedicated bandwidth for $560 a month. Increasing the data communication performance by 677%, while at the same time saving LANta $700 a month is the kind of efficiency we strive to achieve
2. Systamec System Recovery is the industry standard for server backup and recovery. This software costs $600 per license. Due to the complexity of LANta’s server installation, it requires 19 licenses in order to fully protect in the event of a disaster. The backup software needs to be updated every three years. This works out to $316.67 per month, and does not include the costs of hardware replacement and maintenance. HTI estimates the hardware costs to be approximately $150 per year. Recently LANta has been migrated to a cloud-integrated Barracuda Backup Server with automatic redundant off-site replication.
The Barracuda Backup combines a plug-and-play appliance for onsite backups with cloud and private cloud disc-based replication to quickly and securely store data in multiple locations off-site. This service, with higher functionality and reliability, and lower maintenance overhead costs LANta $250 per month. This works out to nearly a $1000 savings per year.
3. HTI has proposed the consolidation of LANta’s current file and SQL Database servers down to a single Unified Commuting System (UCS) server. The UCS will take the place of two physical servers, as well as allow for low cost expansion. The new UCS server will be able to provide resources for up to six virtual servers. Another advantage of the UCS system is that this new file server will provide increased data security and protection against corruption, virus and malware damage, as compared to a Windows server based system.
While all this is technical in nature, the bottom line is, it is an example of the continuing effort to improve LANta’s bottom line. Constantly evaluating its network and taking steps to reduce ongoing and capital costs will have a significant return on investment as funding becomes more and more constrained.