Feeds

Texas snatches voter system from $863m IBM contract

Fears for lost data

Application security programs and practises

Texas has pulled its voter registration system from a $863m data center consolidation project being overseen by IBM, saying it distrusts the giant's ability to recover lost data.

IBM is merging separate data centers from 27 Texas state agencies into two facilities under a seven-year outsourcing contract, to cut costs and improve security.

But the Secretary of State office tells the the Austin American-Statesman it received a "wake-up call" in August after a major server crash resulted in a 13-day outage of its business records filing system.

It infers that if a similar incident occurred during an election, the agency wouldn't be able to verify new voters in Texas. The state agency received permission to withdrawal from the IBM program and set up a data center of its own with two separate backup locations.

An IBM spokesman told El Reg the outage was due to a failure with a third-party SAN it inherited from the Secretary of State office. Plans were in place to migrate that SAN to a new environment, he said.

"IBM worked closely with the Secretary of State's office to correct a complex situation as quickly as possible," he adds, claiming the systems were only intermittently down over the course of the remediation.

"In the end, all data was recovered, and the SAN environment was upgraded and improved," the IBM spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Texas governor Rick Perry is quoted in the American-Statesman as saying attempts thus far to get the election systems working at the consolidated data center have been met with missed deadlines, equipment and software failures, and inadequate disaster recovery.

According to the agency's website, work on the IBM project began in early November 2004, and was expected to be operational by January 1, 2006.

This is not the first time IBM has messed up Texas. In 2008, governor Perry suspended the transfer of state files to IBM systems and fined the company $900,000 for data lost through back-up failures under the same government contract.

Separately, another server crash in July 2008 for the state Attorney General's Medicaid fraud unit caused a loss of half the records generated during an eight-month investigation period.

IBM told us after the initial incident at the Attorney General's office in 2008, improvements were made across the enterprise, including the AG's environment. It said the state's IT operations are more stable and secure now and have steadily improved since IBM began the project in 2007.

The American-Statesman, on the other hand, claims a survey of the 27 agencies involved in the data center consolidation project show that 88 per cent were dissatisfied with the services provided by IBM. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.