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Could the Cloud Derail a $300 Million Data Center? 109

Posted by timothy
from the follow-the-electrons dept.
1sockchuck writes "The cloud computing debate has come into focus for taxpayers in Washington state, where a proposed $300 million project to build a data center in Olympia for the state's IT operations is coming under scrutiny. Two legislators are urging the state to shift applications to the cloud instead, noting that two of the largest cloud computing providers (Microsoft and Amazon) are based in the state. The critics say the data center project is driven by an interest in local construction and 'fails to seriously explore the larger strategic question facing government technology today.'"
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Could the Cloud Derail a $300 Million Data Center?

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  • next question.
    • Two legislators are urging the state to shift applications to the cloud instead

      The answer is obvious if you look at top campaign contributors for these 2 legislators.

      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)
        I thought you were dead. Or... I thought I did.
      • by w1 (1604343)
        Reuven Carlyle [followthemoney.org] and Hans Dunshee [followthemoney.org] received a combined total of $1200 from MS and $900 from the "Washington software alliance". They've received more from broadband interests which might lead counter to wanting to derail a datacenter (although the broadband money is probably focused more on different legislation), and quite a bit more from other sectors.
        • by Rep. Reuven Carlyle (1604397) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @07:14PM (#28801629)
          Do you really think I'd take a stand like this for Microsoft or Google or any other company? I'm trying to have a more serious discussion before we spend $300M on a state owned and operated data center with a weak business case behind it on the Capitol Campus when we're so broke we're closing group foster homes. And I'm not suggesting we send all the data to the cloud, just look at a more strategic technology plan that uses it when/if appropriate. Doesn't take away or discount the legitimate privacy/security issues to raise other options. Reuven Carlyle
          • by w1 (1604343)
            I was basically countering the parent by showing that MS (or amazon) wasn't a "top campaign contributor" as he implied.

            Not that I trust your motives in general.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Next question. Is that REALLY your beard?

  • *blinks* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If I lived in that state, I'd be pretty upset by the mere suggestion that it would be a good idea to have all the private information which the state holds about me go through either Microsoft or Google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Yeah, 'cause the various arms of government have such a great track record when it comes to network security. Remember when the department of the interior was so monumentally hosed that all internet activity was banned? They weren't even allowed to have their public websites online.

    • Re:*blinks* (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Albanach (527650) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:45PM (#28798335) Homepage

      If I lived in that state, I'd be pretty upset by the mere suggestion that it would be a good idea to have all the private information which the state holds about me go through either Microsoft or Google.

      If you're hosting your own images and just using their processors, storage and bandwidth then what I would be concerned about is the privacy policy that forms part of the contract. Properly set up however, the important data should be arriving at the cloud encrypted and be stored encrypted. The host should have no ability to access raw personal data.

      Personally I'm wondering just what sort of IT infrastructure they have that demands a $300 million data center? With 66,000 employees that's $4500 per employee. Just what is the data center for?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eln (21727)

        Just what is the data center for?

        Call me crazy, but I think it might be for storing and processing data.

        This is a state government, they have data necessary to deliver government services of various kinds to the 6.5 million Washington residents. I'm not sure what the number of employees they have has to do with anything.

        Personally, I'd be hesitant to build one giant data center just because you then have a single point of failure, unless their budget includes a disaster recovery site somewhere else. However, shifting personal data

        • by Albanach (527650)

          This is a state government, they have data necessary to deliver government services of various kinds to the 6.5 million Washington residents. I'm not sure what the number of employees they have has to do with anything.

          Well call me stupid, but I'd figured most of the interaction with the Government's computers would be by the Government's staff.

          6.5 million people isn't a big number. There will be scores of folk on /. running databases for that many folk or more on a couple of servers.

          So sorry, I'm still wond

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Nethead (1563)

            Those Washington State computers keep me from having to interact with State employees. wa.gov has been a leader in getting government online. I remember back in '95 when the head data guy, Jim Culp, raised a big stink with the powers-that-be by listing ALL government phone numbers on the gopher and www site, including the Governer's cell-phone. His reasoning was that the people of the State paid for it so they were entitled to the information.

            I haven't been to a DMV office in over a decade because I can

          • All your base are theirs.
            They have your private stuff.
            They have all of your private stuff.
            Does Micro$oft care?
            Will any corporation keep your stuff local?
            A state employee does not get the corporate anonymity or lawyers of 'the cloud'.
            The state data center won't suddenly be moved to Elbonia to save money.
            I hope.

          • $50 million to build it, $150 million to keep it running for the next year or two and $100 million for the politicians to congratulate each other with over a job well done.
        • by Fluffeh (1273756)
          eln(21727) wrote:

          Call me crazy

          Okay, I am making it official.
          eln is Crazy.

          +1 Informative plzkthxbai.

      • Properly set up however, the important data should be arriving at the cloud encrypted and be stored encrypted. The host should have no ability to access raw personal data.

        And how you would go to process the data?

        • by lukas84 (912874)

          The data will be downloaded using an Excel plugin into Excel, decrypted, and then queries will be done using Excel.

          This way, you get all the advantages of cloud storage, plus the easy usability of Excel.

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:28PM (#28798123) Homepage Journal

    Good God, I can't be the only one so sick of this cloud computing bullshit. Seriously, just because it works for some types of data and/or applications, doesn't mean it'll work for everything.

    Put down the fucking hammer, not every IT task is a frigging nail.

    Idiots.

    • by gx5000 (863863)
      Agreed.. I've already commented on this a few times... The managers in charge of projects don't seem to be seasoned enough to understand the long term disadvantages of cloud computing...never mind the security and sovereignty issues involved. I'll say it again, some people need to put down their copy of Techwars and realize that some projects are too wide for web applications.
      • by afidel (530433)
        and realize that some projects are too wide for web applications.

        Like what exactly? The biggest applications I have experience with are all n-tier web fronted applications. Our ERP, ECM, BI, and CRM* are all web based and so are almost every app in those product spaces. The only apps that I am aware of that are large and not necessarily improved by using a web frontend are greenscreen apps like SABRE access or something like state DMV systems and you can generally make those snappy enough with modern web
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          If we limit it to things the government would do, yeah, they probably could standardize on something with a dozen other states and save a lot of money. If they go into it alone, it's just a money pit, though. If you have to run a custom app just for you, I'd expect it to be much cheaper to maintain systems in-house than to contract it out to a for-profit company to maintain them for you.

          That said, I can think of a lot of apps that can't realistically work via the cloud---not because of the number of recor

          • Cad work
            Needs mid to high range e3 cards
            big files
            high cpu / ram load.

          • by afidel (530433)
            I can't see any of the things you are talking about being done in a centralized government datacenter. For all the paper pushing and website presentation stuff that the government is going to be doing the cloud is a fine solution. I will conceded that there are probably plenty of legacy applications that will need to stay on mainframes and Unix boxes but what percentage of the states datacenter needs are those? Like most things cloud computing is a tool and the job of IT professionals is to find the right t
        • The State of Washington has multiple computing platforms. Why does everything think that these platforms are all supported by either Microsoft's or Amazon's clouds? I know the State of Washington also has IBM zSeries mainframe systems. Somehow I don't think these environments are supported by these particular clouds.
        • by gx5000 (863863)
          Because the plan is to take it out of your intranet and ship it out towards the cloud computing freaks. Yes, Intranet web based products are great, assuming you have the hardware infrastructure to support it. Most Gov and institutions always push out projects that require better boxes but delay the migration stating that there is no money for it and that the software will run run fine on existing platforms, and when it doesn't it's another fiasco. All I meant is that web based application will sooner or lat
    • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:42PM (#28798301)

      Seriously, just because it works for some types of data and/or applications, doesn't mean it'll work for everything.

      What is the difference between an in-house datacenter and an outsourced one?

      The person you write the checks to.

      That's about it these days.

      Chances are if they did do in house, the techs were still be outsourced contracts instead of state employees. If they outsource it to Amazon or Microsoft in the state they'll still be employing locals and hopefully save tax dollars in the process.

      But I do agree about the whole "cloud computing" being BS as a hypeword. Its really a euphemism for "outsourced".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Em Emalb (452530)

        Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to keep my data in-house. I know who is accessing it, who even has access to it, who has access to the physical rooms, the racks, etc. Do you think that "cloud" computing is going to increase or decrease security leaks? In a few years, if this keeps going the way we're going, there will be so many leaks we won't even report them anymore.

        Yeah, I do networking/security for a living, and I simply cannot trust a third party to be as responsible as I am with my data. I wor

        • by vertinox (846076)

          Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to keep my data in-house.

          Unless you happen to be a one person government or business, "my data" doesn't apply.

          A government or business has to either trust their employees or the persons they contract to deal with the data either way.

          The question you have to ask is "Do you trust your employees or contractors?" and "Do they have deep enough pockets to sue when something goes wrong?"

          On a personal level, I wouldn't put my private data on a cloud, but when you look at busines

      • What is the difference between an in-house datacenter and an outsourced one? The person you write the checks to.

        I agree, but I'd add liability. If it's outsourced, you have someone to blame/punch if something goes wrong.

      • by guruevi (827432)

        I still don't see the benefit of outsourcing for these large projects. I can understand the benefit where you have a single small project and no in-house knowledge or need to hire someone to do it. For a $300M datacenter however you do need a full time datacenter manager and at least a couple of hard- and software technicians.

        If you outsource it you still have to pay for those people but on top of that you also have to pay for another companies and your own contracting overhead as well as profits (and in th

      • by dbIII (701233)
        The big problem is you still have to clean up the mess yourself when the outsourced contractor drops the ball. The outsourced contractor also stands to lose a lot if they make a mistake so it is in their best interest to cover it up. Any severe disagreements can only be sorted out by long and expensive legal proceedings. There is also little or nothing that you can do if an employee of the outsourced contractor uses your confidential information for their own personal gain. Then there are the usual tric
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good God, I can't be the only one so sick of this cloud computing bullshit. Seriously, just because it works for some types of data and/or applications, doesn't mean it'll work for everything.

      Put down the fucking hammer, not every IT task is a frigging nail.

      Idiots.

      It would be an interesting archaeology study to dig through messageboards and bulletin boards from the 70's and 80s. I'm sure that you could find people discussing the idea of shifting computing from the big, time shared mainframes to personal computers.

      I'm also sure one would find comments like yours, stating how annoying the idea of personal computers sounds like the ubiquitous nail for the universal hammer problem. I wouldn't be surprised if there were several people in the vocal minority who had disdain

      • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:17PM (#28798791)

        It would be an interesting archaeology study to dig through messageboards and bulletin boards from the 70's and 80s. I'm sure that you could find people discussing the idea of shifting computing from the big, time shared mainframes to personal computers.

        I'm also sure one would find comments like yours, stating how annoying the idea of personal computers sounds like the ubiquitous nail for the universal hammer problem. I wouldn't be surprised if there were several people in the vocal minority who had disdain for non-distributed computing.

        Hopefully, in two decades, someone will be digging through Slashdot and laughing about us having to search through the slow-ass "Information Superhighway" for our data.

        It's funny how history repeats itself.

        One could. There was. And it isn't.

        There is no difference between what was happening then, and what is happening now. Then, it was short-sighted management that wanted to avoid the costs of the mainframe and having to deal with Data Processing when they wanted something. Now, it is short-sighted management that wants to avoid the cost of in-house servers and desktop computers and having to deal with IT when they want something.

        Then, the problems cropped up when data that used to be in one location was suddenly on every PC in the organization and out of sync with the mainframe and every other PC. Now, the problem will crop up when we will have the data on NONE of the computers in an organization, and some dork with backhoe whose parents never bought him Tonka toys chops the fiber. Or, that a poorly written application stores critical data in the clear and suddenly a Google search brings up your medical history.

        When I call a company for service I do not want to be told sorry, we can't help you until whatever problem happened is fixed, because we have no way to pull up your records.

        • You're missing one important difference. Cost accounting.

          Back in the decentralization movement, users would compare the cost of a pile of hardware with the cost of services from the Data Processing department. They wouldn't listen to DP people talking about things like backup and uptime and support. They'd listen to the vendors who'd tell them they could get services on the cheap.

          (This hasn't changed. There's lots of places where top management will believe the vendors rather than their internal ex

          • by jc42 (318812)

            You're missing one important difference. Cost accounting. Back in the decentralization movement, users would compare the cost of a pile of hardware with the cost of services from the Data Processing department.

            Actually, what I remember from back then (the 1980s and the move from mainframes to "personal" or "desktop" computers) was something different. In every case I saw or heard of from the participants, the problem wasn't money; it was the DP department. The problem was that DP (or IT as it's now known)

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Amen.

      The only more stupid than moving everything to some imaginary "Cloud" is two politicians suggesting that everything be moved to some imaginary "Cloud".

    • by ergo98 (9391)

      Yes, but some guy used it to mass-convert a bunch of static TIFFs to static PDFs...so...

      The cloud is grossly overhyped. People have some vague, fuzzy belief that it is the solution for everything in the same way that they thought XML and Web Services were before. It is a part of the puzzle, but it certainly isn't as profound as some think it is.

    • by mldi (1598123)

      Good God, I can't be the only one so sick of this cloud computing bullshit. Seriously, just because it works for some types of data and/or applications, doesn't mean it'll work for everything.

      Put down the fucking hammer, not every IT task is a frigging nail.

      Idiots.

      Agreed. SkyNet will realize that too, ironically. Killing humans will be just too damn inefficient using cloud computing.

  • And here I was ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lbalbalba (526209) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:29PM (#28798145)
    ... stupid me, thinking that 'The Cloud', actually *was* a $300 Million Data Center...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      Exactly. Either you build your own data center, or you host your applications in someone else's data center. The cloud is just a term we use to describe the situation when you're running your applications in someone else's data center, on their hardware, on their system configuration, and possibly with their applications. The data center doesn't cease to exist because it's somebody elses. It just means you pay more, because they have to pay for the data center, plus get a profit from running the thing.
      • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:52PM (#28798411) Journal

        This presents an interesting situation without an easy, clear cut answer. As a tax payer, I'm not sure what makes more sense. Do I want the government spending my money with a private company like Microsoft or Google, or do I want them spending my money developing their own infrastructure. On one hand, it could be argued that a large corporation that faces competitive pressures in the marketplace would be forced to keep costs down. On the other hand, by having a government run datacenter, costs can be controlled through the bugetary process. If the state runs their own datacenter, they don't have to worry about their "cloud" provider raising the rates every time the contract comes due.

        The politican who came out against the datacenter says that he favors transparency. It seems to me that if he wants transparency, the state should run their own datacenter because then they will be able to completely audit all of the costs associated with it. If the IT services are outsourced into the cloud, it becomes more difficult to account for exactly how the dollars are spent. As you mentioned, a private entity needs to make a profit. A public entity simply needs to cover their costs, and in fact it is quite common for legislation to contain verbage that makes it illegal for a public entity to attempt to turn a profit by charging more for services than required to cover the costs involved.

        From what I know of public sector workers (my girl friend works for the state of California), they are proud of their jobs and what they do. Of course there are always antecdotes about lazy DMV workers, or life time employees who get by doing the least possible as they look forward to their pension. However by and large, most public sector work environments have a strong sense of community pride that comes from knowing that they have a job for life (budget crisises aside). They know what their jobs are and they get them done. The large majority of the delay comes from the legislatively mandated proceedures that they have to follow... the reams of paperwork that they have to fill out to do the simplest thing. The jobs aren't the best paying jobs, but they are stable.

        I can almost guarantee that sense of pride would shine through with the state of Washington IT services department. That would be "their" datacenter, and they would be providing services directly to the people of the state. There will be people working in that datacenter for 20 plus years. How long do you think people stick around a typical datacenter?

        • On the other hand, by having a government run datacenter, costs can be controlled through the bugetary process.

          Has that *ever* worked?

          (in case you're scratching your head, the answer is "no")

          • by dave562 (969951)
            Don't believe everything that you read in the papers. At the individual department level, the costs are controlled pretty stringently (at least in California). They can't spend money that they don't have a budget line item for. Any purchase orders submitted that exceed the amount of funds available are rejected.
        • by RockWolf (806901)

          This presents an interesting situation without an easy, clear cut answer. As a tax payer, I'm not sure what makes more sense. Do I want the government spending my money with a private company like Microsoft or Google, or do I want them spending my money developing their own infrastructure.

          As a taxpayer, I'm entirely unsure that the government cares what you think.

          /~Rockwolf

        • The thing is, governments are as bad at negotiating contracts as they are at running data centers, so it probably doesn't matter much either way.

          Actually, many contracts are designed to be bad from the get-go: pretend you're negotiating hard and getting good prices, get locked-in with a supplier, discover suddenly you need lots of expensive, single-source, no-competitive-tender extensions, enjoy the kickbacks.

          The sudden discovery can be attributed to either incompetence or corruption. I lean towards the lat

      • You dont always pay MORE. They can use economies of scale to cost LESS than your own Datacenter and they still make money. There are two versions of outsourcing at Datacenter: You can own the equipment and co-locate and they provide power, cooling and bandwidth or you can turn it all over to them and you lease it back (this is more like the "cloud"). I have seen deals where you can save serious $$$ by not using an in-house Datacenter as power is more expensive, network is more expensive and it requires peo
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          You are right. But it usually only costs less to rent out space when you don't plan to do something large scale. If you're options are set up a single rack with all the amenities of a wold class data center, then it's going to be much cheaper to just rent a rack at your local data center. However, if you are going to build a $300 Million data center, then renting the same amount of resources off of someone else is probably going to cost more. Somewhere in the middle lies the tipping point. The tipping
    • If it takes a 300 Million $ Data Center to store that data, it'll take a 300 Million $ Data Center from MS or Google or whoever, regardless of Cloud or no Cloud. I don't see what cloud computing has to do with this. It's more like build your own vs rent one debate.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Except with MS or Google you can rent space in multiple disparate datacenters which is better than running your own single large one. The problem with cloud computing is that it assumes every application is horizontally scalable and available on open systems platforms (IE Windows or Linux).
    • No "The Cloud" is somebody else's $300 million data center.

      That's all. Does it make sense to outsource all your operations or some of them to "The Cloud". Maybe. And sometimes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by llamalad (12917)

      How are we supposed to have a conversation about this if you're going to go and cloud the discussion with actual facts?

    • by aafiske (243836)

      It is, they're saying they should use the $300 million data center that already exists instead of buying a new one.

      Why is a basic reading comprehension failure modded insightful?

    • California spent a pile of money to develop their own data center in the Department of Education. A ton. And the result is less than impressive, with uptimes that approach 95%, and constant notices of downtime, often unexpected, due not only to the occasional software glitch (which happens, even to Google) but also to network issues. (Routers going down, unstable/bad performing connections, etc.)

      Given the amount of money spent, the result is just... disappointing. And yet, just a few miles away, there are p

  • This reminds me of the problem of attempting interstellar travel too early. Chances are that the ship you launch will be passed up in a few years by superior technology. At least in this case, the state has a clear shot at saving some money by going with the latest and greatest, in this case, cloud computing. And being able to support local businesses (ie in-state jobs) is a double bonus as $300M is nothing to sneeze at as I'm sure the state a few hundreds miles south would attest to.
  • Some day... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:34PM (#28798195)

    Some day, someone will figure out how to store data in *actual* clouds, and this whole thing is gonna get *really* confusing.
    -Taylor

    • Some day, someone will figure out how to store data in *actual* clouds, and this whole thing is gonna get *really* confusing. -Taylor

      That gets expensive, when you factor in the cost of the silver lining.

  • Someone should let them in on a little secret. Called VMware!!!
  • The government has a responsibility to ensure the privacy and security of the data it owns. There may be equipment cost savings in using a third party 'cloud' hosting solution. Will those savings offset the new infrastructure the state government will have to build for compliance and auditing of the third parties?

    Also, going to a 'cloud' will not just mean moving current systems from existing data centers to a new data center custom built to house the equipment that supports current systems (ie Z/OS and

    • by HappyDrgn (142428)

      "Will those savings offset the new infrastructure the state government will have to build for compliance and auditing of the third parties?"

      Ideally compliance and auditing of sensitive data with an internal IT department should be the same as with an external IT department. A government IT employee is no more or less likely to loose, steal or mishandle sensitive data than an employee in the private sector.

      As for your other points about costs of converting to the "cloud" I think you hit the nail on the head.

    • by rnturn (11092)

      "Will those savings offset the new infrastructure the state government will have to build for compliance and auditing of the third parties?"

      Oh the fun it'll be as a cloud provider having to respond to 50 different state governments, thousands of municipal governments, and innumerable corporations each with their own requirements for data retention, disaster recovery, privacy, etc., etc.

      Think the cloud is going to be inexpensive when all the people needed to comply with these customers' varying requireme

  • I love gov contracts.
  • by addikt10 (461932) * on Thursday July 23, 2009 @02:46PM (#28798341)

    If this $300M Datacenter was for brand new applications and brand new servers, then they might have a point (probably not, but they might).

    But in my experience, cloud computing works best for particular applications, and not as a blanket answer to wholesale moving everything in your datacenter to mystical hardware in the cloud.

    I haven't seen anything in cloud computing that can handle main frame and midrange apps, Sun apps, or any of thousands of other requirements that are going to be handled in the $300M Datacenter. In the end, this is just politicians trying to seem cool.

    • "I haven't seen anything in cloud computing that can handle main frame and midrange apps, Sun apps. . ."

      Wait, wasn't Sun one of the earliest proponents of the concepts behind cloud computing [internetnews.com], but about 5 years ago, Sun was trying to get what they were calling 'utility computing' going, which was sort of a pre-cursor to the idea of cloud computing, wasn't it? Granted, they later 'canned' the Utility Computing services offering, but even now, they have a "Cloud Computing" page on the Sun Website (although, no

  • Having lived in Washington State, one can pretty much garantee that state legislators are beholden to certain construction entities... and port authorities... and environmental impact study contracting firms... and caterers... you name it. "Monorail! Monorail! Monorail" (obligatory chant to all Washingtonians) They have some company that bids and consistently wins those bids. Olympia likes to spend a lot of money that stays entirely in Olympia... And most of the state can do nothing about this, it's been a
  • This thing is local politics. Two largest provider will probably make it happen - make taxpayers spend more than $300M but look like it it is less and cheaper.

    Whole subject of clouds makes me think of clouds ingredients. Vapour and bits of dirt.

  • "Cloud" Privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mosodede (754006) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:15PM (#28798755)
    I really do not feel comfortable with the idea of the government "outsourcing" my data to a third party. I think that cloud-computing is such a young concept that it should not be used for government purposes until any privacy concerns are addressed.
    • Not only for privacy issues, but for other reasons, I think this idea kind of stinks. For many private companies, handing over their operations might offer a suitable risk/rewards ratio, but why should the day to day operations of a government be so completely in the hands of a private company?

      It seems to me you are just *asking* for trouble if government, at any level, doesn't own and operate their own servers. I mean, all sorts of things could go wrong. What do you do if your State government is shut down

  • I'm not sure if Dunshee is just along for the ride (I'll have to call or stop by his office) but Carlyle is deep into tech. From his bio:

    Reuven Carlyle is an entrepreneur in the wireless, software and clean energy industries as well as a citizen legislator.

    A passionate advocate for foster children and national and community service, Reuven served as co-founder of City Year, an AmeriCorps program in King County. He's a recent member of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges where he focused on the use of technology in education.

    Professionally, Reuven helps early and mid stage firms bring new, leading edge technologies to market worldwide. He provides business development, financing, sales, board development and consulting services to technology companies especially in the wireless, software and clean technology fields.

    Reuven has served on the boards of directors or advisors for AirSage, Inc., Compelling Technologies, Inc., and V2Green, Inc. He also served as chairman of the board of Twisted Pair Solutions, now the nation's premier provider of radio interoperability and communications software. He was a senior business development executive with Xypoint where he helped build the Seattle-based startup into the largest provider of wireless E911 location services in the nation. Reuven was also a public policy manager with McCaw Cellular Communications and AT&T Wireless Services. He co-founded an international business development firm to help Israeli-based technology companies enter the U.S. and European markets. In his early career, Reuven served as a communications aide in the Washington State House of Representatives. He developed an interest in government while serving as a teenage page in Congress for Sens Warren Magnuson and Scoop Jackson.

    Reuven grew up in Bellingham, Wash. and has a master in public administration (M.P.A.) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor of arts (BA) in Communications from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

    • by BoberFett (127537)

      So which company that he consults for on the side stands to make an assload of money off this deal?

      Cloud computing is a buzzword right now. Not something I as a potential customer would want to entrust my future to.

      • by Nethead (1563)

        I would like to see the State build the data center. Worse case (and they'll probably do this anyway) is sell co-lo space to various local and county departments that need government level security for their servers and SANs. That is what Yakima County did when they built their space, built it as a co-lo and they were just another customer (for accounting.)

  • When was the last time you saw a cloud derail something? :P

  • Ok, I'm not pretending the 'cloud' is the sole answer or even that there aren't legitimate privacy/security concerns about citizen data; I'm just making the case that: 1. the state's business case dismisses the entire cloud without any real analysis of where it may or may not be appropriate; 2. the $1,200 per sq/foot cost for state data center is probably closer to $2,000 in reality; 3. the $300M is for the data center 'shell' and doesn't include anything to fix old Cobalt databases, buy or build new a
  • You can find this on the web: encrypting data in S3, decrypting in memory right before use. HIPAA medical records privacy requirements are severe, so if the cloud can work for HIPAA, then it should work for government infrastructure.

  • In the as year, I have been happy using Amazon EC2 (etc.), Google's Java AppEngine, and Heroku for web apps. Way better, if you can, to outsource scalability.

    BTW, I use an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for the examples for my last book. It took me almost 10 hours to get the software (Ruby, Rails, Sesame, Redland, Hadoop, Sphinx, Solr, etc., plus my example programs) set up on an AMI, but this is time well spent because now people who want to casually experiment with this stuff don't need to spend this time (an

  • Pulling a straw man question out of their collective arse helps hide how bad a decision this is. Anyone see anything about large data centers being built in EASTERN Washington because of the very CHEAP electricity, lower property costs, and lower wages? I'm just amazed they aren't proposing this as another lid over I-5 further traumatizing traffic flow.
  • The state would not be able to function. It happens, far more often than any of the 8 datacenters I work on have ever gone down. Wait.. none of them have ever gone down in 10 years.

    You could lose a single service and that happens, no big deal.

    Cloud goes down, EVERYTHING goes down.

    They should consider that.

  • Rather than building a brand new $300 million data center, why not put state servers in an existing data center?

    The legislators are right to question whether there is a lower-cost way to do this.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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