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Washington state Rep. says no to data center, suggests Amazon S3

A $300 Million dollar data center project to house IT operations for the state of Washington has come under fire by two state legislators as half-baked, inefficient and unsound. What's the alternative? Why, putting all of the state's data center operations "in the cloud", of course!

Cue: Circus music, dancing children and an end to all of humanity's ills

This is the part where the Big Brain appears but Leela arrives with an urgent message to Fry and saves the day, right? Right?

Calling the proposal a "$300 Million dollar mistake", Rep. Reuven Carlyle suggests that the state, "Utilize cloud services from commercial providers such as Google, Microsoft [ or ] Amazon."

So, you're just going to stick all the state IT in the cloud because in anecdote, it sounds less expensive? Heck, if this really is the future, why don't we outsource "the cloud" itself to a cloud computing company as well? There's really no need for any organization to own infrastructure at all! We'll just sign up for an Amazon S3 account, push the big magic "upload" button and call it a day. Problem solved!

Seriously, do these knee-jerk armchair IT guys think they're the first to look at saving money by not building a new data-center? Do they even understand that much of what the state likely runs would need massive rewriting, porting, new development and a huge testing effort to assure that this wouldn't just be a giant money-sucking fiasco?

According to the letter Carlyle sent to Washington Governor Gregoire, "Public sector IT experts predict that within just a few years up to 50% of government agencies nationwide will outsource most data to the cloud." If that's the reality, someone pass me the blue pill and put me out of my misery.

Cloud computing is certainly here to stay, there's no arguing against that. But, that doesn't mean the data-center is going the way of the Dodo bird. There's a pretty good reason you don't see the Fortune 500 rushing to do this with mission critical or customer facing operations; Control. As a consumer of government services, I should have the right not to worry about the ultimate safety, security and reliability of state data services. As idyllic as "the cloud" is in concept -- unlimited availability, ubiquitous hot and cold running backups and seemingly boundless performance -- the reality is quite different. It takes a massive amount of effort to make things look effortless.

Tags: cloud computing, CloudComputing, data center, DataCenter, washington