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A modernized ICT infrastructure for the City of Mortsel

About Mortsel

Mortsel is a small city with many assets in the green belt around Antwerp. Because of its excellent location, strong service and a rich social and cultural life, Mortsel has become an ideal place to live.

Modernizing the ICT infrastructure

Quite a few local governments urgently need upgrading of their IT systems. This was also the case for Mortsel. Therefore the city allocated within the long-term policy the necessary budgets for a practical approach. The contract for this ICT modernization was awarded to Ferranti Computer Systems and includes the provision of new PCs, laptops and tablets, the renewal of the IT infrastructure (servers, storage and virtualization), the replacement of active network components, as well as the implementation of System Center Operations Manager and Configuration Manager. 

“This contract is really important to us,” says Gunter Van De Cauter, Sales Director ICT at Ferranti Computer Systems. “Within the ICT division we have particular focus on local government. The modernization of Mortsel’s ICT infrastructure is a nobility letter, which you can turn into pride afterwards.” 

Ferranti delivers the new PCs, laptops and tablets, including the pre-installed operating system and the back-office applications. All of this will be provided through a framework contract for frequent purchases of new equipment. Besides the delivery of the devices, Ferranti also provides daily support tasks in the capacity of a helpdesk employee on call. 

Furthermore it was essential to renew all active network components in order to dispose of a solid and reliable network and Wi-Fi environment that connects all of the services of the city and the OCMW of Mortsel in a performant manner. To achieve this Ferranti implemented a double-layered Cisco based network made up of a core switching infrastructure in the town hall and the OCMW building that are connected to a set of edge switches on different locations. Luc Huygelen, head of the IT department at the city of Mortsel: “Networking has become much more complex these days. Ferranti has just the right technical expertise in the networking market to be able to tell us exactly what we needed in our environment to support the public service delivery of the city and the OCMW.” 

Regarding the renewal of the IT infrastructure the mission there was to achieve a “copy” of the OCMW infrastructure, which has recently been completely renovated in 2012. For the new high-performance and scalable storage infrastructure of the city, a Dell server & storage platform was selected. The virtualisation layer is created with VMware vSphere.

Symantec Back-up Exec has been chosen as the solution for back-up. Luc Huygelen: “Symantec Back-up Exec provides all the necessary integrations with Mortsel’s systems needed to perform back-ups in accordance with the back-up schedule. And this is already in use at the OCMW, which lowers the learning curve considerably. Ferranti was responsible for the implementation, and also supported us in the development of a new back-up schedule.” Mortsel also wanted to add a second location (Cold disaster recovery location) increasing the availability of the systems.

Finally Ferranti also implemented System Center Operations Manager and Configuration Manager. Adding such a management layer on top of the basic infrastructure increases the de efficiency of Mortsel’s IT team. System Center Operations Manager takes care of the proactieve monitoring of all systems (Hardware, Base OS, SQL, Exchange, Active Directory and Cisco network monitoring). Veaam management pack plug-in is used for the monitoring of the virtualisation layer. System Center Configuration Manager grants the city of Mortsel patch management, hard- and software inventory, and it provides automatic OS and software deployment for all PCs, making sure they’re always up-to-date.

Ferranti also ensured the necessary training of the new systems. Concerning the training approach, we opted for an “on-the-job” training, offering the advantage that there is a focus on their own environment and that knowledge is acquired of what is important for the daily management. Ferranti prepared a PowerPoint presentation as training and documentation material - with hand-outs explaining the implementation.

“Ferranti has done a great job in assisting is during the preparation, the implementation and the completion of the entire project,” says Luc Huygelen. “They are true IT specialists with the necessary experience and they are aware of the classic risks that may arise during implementation. Everyone on the team was particularly motivated to complete the project successfully.”