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Alpena Community College buys new computer servers

ALPENA — Alpena Community College has purchased new computer servers so students and employees can continue receiving high-quality computing capabilities.

The college Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to buy two physical servers from HPE for $21,980.

The servers will be located in Van Lare Hall and the Besser Technical Center, so if one server goes down, there is still another server running.

The college’s Office of Information Technology maintains a student information system server environment, which was owned by Merit at their Southfield Data Center.

Merit is discontinuing the hosted services on June 30, 2021, but the annual cost will double starting July 1, when the new fiscal year begins, so a change was needed.

Mark Grunder, co-director of the college’s Office of Information Technology, said the new servers will last five to seven years. He said Merit cost $17,000 its last year, but there were other costs involved and it became too expensive.

“It’s smarter on our part” to change, Grunder said.

During the past year, the department’s administrators worked to evaluate several scenarios for the replacement of the Merit-hosted servers. The most cost-effective solution was determined to be purchasing new server infrastructure, bringing the server platform back on site, and staying with the firm Ellucian, which enhances technology operations for colleges, as the college’s server solution porvider.

College President Don MacMaster said Grunder and others in the Office of Information Technology put a lot of work in to think of the best option for the college.

“I think we arrived at the best choice,” MacMaster said.

The project will be paid for from the college’s maintenance and replacement fund.