With 6,500 computers, 1,200 cellphones, 1,100 mobile devices and 10,000 telephones in more than 200 locations, managing and preserving the City's data and electronic communications is a 24/7, 365 days a year assignment.
That's the mission of the Information Technologies Division at the Ed Ball Building near City Hall.
"The tenets of all data centers are security, availability and capacity," said Gary Steffens, ITD enterprise architect.
Installed behind a glass wall and the highest security of any space maintained by the City, hundreds of components route and store all types of information from telephone calls and emails to payroll records.
Steffens said of the more than 120 people who work in ITD, only 10 have access to the room and entry requires two forms of authentication.
Security in the division extends beyond limiting who can open the door to the data center. Steffens said firewalls and other measures blocked or quarantined more than 50,000 computer viruses and more than 17 million "malicious intrusions" in the past year.
The center is monitored round-the-clock and the system is designed to continue to function even if JEA, the primary source of electricity, fails completely.
Steffens said a bank of batteries similar to those used in motor vehicles can maintain full power to the system for 30 minutes. Diesel generators connected to the data center activate after power is lost for 8 seconds and they will keep the City's data safe and running for at least three days before requiring refueling, he said.
Keeping the center in operation is a priority due to the number of City functions that depend on electronic data to maintain their operations.
If the data center ceased operations for a single day, the cost in lost productivity and the ability to render City services would be more than $650,000, said Usha Mohan, the City's chief information officer.
In addition to keeping the data center running smoothly and reliably, Mohan said the division staff also works to improve the performance and reduce the cost of operations.
This week, the City, Internet services for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, JEA and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority were consolidated. The change is intended to provide improved service at a lower cost by doubling the data center's network capacity. According to figures released by the City, the operational cost savings could be as much as $200,000 per year.
In 2012, the Jacksonville was recognized as the 10th-ranked city in the nation with population of 250,000 or more in the annual Digital Cities Survey by the e.Republic Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities.
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