Government and Technology

Local IT firm to construct DGRI’s new virtual network

July 19, 2013
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Fusion IT LLC will build the communications infrastructure for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. in its new ground-floor office at 29 Pearl St. NW.

Fusion IT, 263 Church St. SW, was founded in 2007 by Kyle Wentworth and is a Microsoft Gold Level Partner. The firm offers networking and PC services, system development and design, datacenter services and advises business owners on technological needs.

“We felt it was important to have our server on site, so Fusion will be our contractor,” said Mary Sierawski, who will manage the DGRI office.

The Downtown Development Authority, one of the organizations that comprise DGRI, awarded the contract to Fusion IT earlier this month after reviewing the firm’s bid and two others for the project.

“We worked very closely with (city of Grand Rapids IT director) Paul Klimas to help us understand this,” said DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson. “There were a couple of variables that went into this option.”

Those variables include the vendor’s experience in the field, the scope of the work and the price tag to have everything completed.

DGRI will pay Fusion IT $38,000 to design, construct, merge and implement its virtual infrastructure and provide all necessary hardware and software, including a new server and a phone system.

In its bid, Fusion IT said it will design wired and wireless connections into the networking and computing infrastructure with an eye toward mobility. The firm plans to use Microsoft’s newest cloud-operating system, Microsoft Server 2012, and Exchange Server 2010. Fusion also will set up secure remote access to files and e-mail and assist with the necessary hardware installation.

The wired and wireless networks will be separated by a virtual LAN that will be internal to the networking devices and managed by the security firewall and network switch. The wireless network will have enough bandwidth to accommodate up to 20 users. The public will have limited virtual access and no access to internal data and e-mail. The system will have multi-tiered backups.

“The goal is to create a seamless environment where data can be easily accessed on multiple devices internal and external to the environment. The key here will be to use the correct technologies to secure the data and allow for easy use,” read the Fusion IT bid.

The firm also recommended DGRI sign up with Tech Soup, a nonprofit established in 1987 that helps other nonprofits access donated and discounted high-quality products and services from its partners, such as Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Intuit and Symantec.

In addition to the DDA, DGRI includes the Downtown Alliance, the Downtown Improvement District and Office of Special Events.

In April, the organization entered into a seven-year lease with a five-year option for 4,300 square feet of space at 29 Pearl St. NW, a location best known for being home to Three Crowns Bistro. DGRI will pay $5,195 in monthly rent but is getting two months’ worth of free rent and its ground-floor space built out at no charge.

DGRI had hoped to move into its new location July 1, but that move has been pushed back to later this summer.

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