White House CIO Brook Colangelo has revealed some harrowing details about his first days on the job. Entering the White House along with Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, Colangelo “delivered the first presidential BlackBerry” and mobile devices to other top administration officials. Yet the White House’s technology was in such poor shape that for the first 40 days, e-mail was down 23 percent of the time.
On January 26, “Our e-mail servers went down for 21 hours,” Colangelo told attendees of the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference in Arizona this week. “In my professional career, there has not been a worst day since or ever.”
Three or four more outages followed in those first 40 days. The White House proceeded to replace its e-mail systems and storage area networks, and started staffing its data center 24 hours a day. Uptime improved, but there was still a nine-hour outage in February 2011, taking down e-mail and Internet access, according to Computerworld. Colangelo resorted to faxing updates to Obama while he was on the road.
The 2011 outage spurred the White House to finally open a second data center for disaster recovery. Other modernization efforts included replacing desktops, which were still using floppy disk drives at the time Colangelo came on board. About 82 percent of the White House’s technology had reached end of life when Obama’s administration began.
The need for IT modernization in a government agency is nothing new, but the extent of the White House’s problems is surprising. Computerworld has the full story.
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White House e-mail was down 23% of the time in Obama’s first 40 days