The Recent Data Center Outage in Virginia
Usually data center and IT news coming out of Virginia is pretty positive – construction, jobs, that kind of thing. This past week, though, a major outage in a facility used by the state to house servers for government services has crippled important agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the situation doesn’t look like it’s improving too quickly.
It’s getting a little grim, in fact, with the governor now requiring that an inquiry be made and an outside agency determine whether the contractor whose facility suffered the outage owes the state for damages. Apparently Northrop Grumman, the agency in question, has gotten a lot of negative attention from its government customers in the years they’ve been working together – the dangers of what according to BusinessWeek is a $2.4 billion contract lasting ten years. Oh, commitment.
The worst of the problems actually caused by the outage seem to be that people can’t get their driver’s licenses renewed or get any tax stuff done. The state is giving anyone in a situation like that leeway due to the exceptional circumstances, and refraining from fining people who are affected, but the length and breadth of the outage is still an issue, especially given the fraught history of the relationship between the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Northrop Grumman. Hopefully this will inspire a reassessment of their practices.
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