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From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/27/2017 9:46 PM

Top tech leaders gathered at the White House last Monday for the inaugural American Technology Council meeting. Chief executives from companies like Amazon, Apple, IBM and Microsoft gathered in Washington, D.C. to meet with the heads of federal agencies to discuss the administration’s IT priorities.

The tech leaders were briefed on topics prior to the meeting, and asked to prepare questions like, “How have you created a culture of user or service first?” and “What lessons have you learned in modernizing legacy systems?” Each CEO brought a “plus-one” from their company, with expertise on the topics.

Jared Kushner, senior advisor and son-in-law to the President, noted the importance of upgrading federal systems, pointing out the thousands of government data centers that could be shifted to the cloud, the slow and tedious acquisition process by which the White House buys new technology and even how federal agencies update their websites. According to Kushner, some Department of Defense programs are still using floppy disks

During one of the days consisting of working groups on cloud computing, top industry players from Salesforce, Intel and IBM talked about how the government can cut down on some 6,000 data centers – costing the government a steep price to own and operate – and how government can shift those responsibilities to the private sector.

According to Recode, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists, John Doerr, urged the Trump administration to be the “data liberation administration” and release more of the government’s stores of data, for private sector use.

This isn’t the first White House to take a crack at modernizing government IT. The Obama administration took several measures following the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov – like creating the U.S. Digital Services, to attract tech sector experts to federal jobs, and 18F, a group inside the General Services Administration that parachutes in on IT projects government-wide.

The argument is that IT modernization can result is substantial savings for the government – the White House estimates $1 trillion over the next ten years. It’s also the mindset that federal agencies should behave more like the private sector, not just in how they buy and use technology, but also in the way it delivers services to citizens.

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#1

Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/27/2017 10:19 PM

It might help if you corrected that editorial mess, but I'm not expecting anything.

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 1:30 AM

Hi Colby, it's been talked about for years, and well I guess progress has been made over recent efforts....It seems to me part of the problem is that government institutions are not for-profit endeavours, so there is not a lot of incentive or justification to upgrade systems, oh there are plenty of reasons, just not very compelling ones, that is until it becomes difficult to work with such outdated means.....My pet peeve is trying to find information on government websites....you get the idea that it's all there but it's just arranged so awkwardly that you can't find what you want....

So they have all the sellers, who I'm sure are all for selling the government everything they have just to turn around and do it again next cycle, but they should have the buyers there telling them why it's so problematic keeping pace with technology....upgrading all the time is a thankless soul starving fight, that ends with no satisfaction...

Putting our weapons system on line is just what Skynet is waiting for, the last nail in the coffin of humanity....No need to ask why people are dragging their feet as they approach the Singularity, that is if you're human....Party on Colby, live each day as if it was your last, for one day it will be.... (Let's hope it's no time soon)

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#3

Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 9:05 AM

One of the issues that causes many of these problems is the way that US Gov proposals are written. I don't know if this is still true, but years ago they used to specify that equipment must have replacement parts available for 20 years! In today's rapidly changing technology, that puts a huge burden on corporations that supply the parts/computers/media etc.

Back in the day, we had a department that kept legacy equipment up and running just to support our many government programs. There was an entire lab dedicated to it and we often used it to access data that was written on legacy equipment that was no longer produced. Yes the "cloud" might solve some of this, but I don't even put my own data out there!!!

I remember a government proposal to convert all the 9 track tape data to "disc"...the media changed before the proposal was signed.

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#5
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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 12:02 PM

Back in the day, we had a department that kept legacy equipment up and running just to support our many government programs. There was an entire lab dedicated to it and we often used it to access data that was written on legacy equipment that was no longer produced. Yes the "cloud" might solve some of this, but I don't even put my own data out there!!!

And it usually consists of an army of 'Kelly Girls' (Temp Service to re-enter the data) and programmers to access the data. All because the old structural format isn't compatible to the new systems format.

And that is one of a few reason's that a high percentage of IT projects fail, in this case 68%. I'm sure its improved now,... but it still happens,...

such as;

The launch of ACA website as an example, but fortunately in this case, it not only had friends in the Whitehouse, but friends that had control of the Taxpayer's checkbook. Otherwise, that project would have been 'Killed'.

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 1:37 PM

Only Swiss industrial instrumentation companies do the long-term parts guarantee. I have never seen that in the private sector here in the USA, except one online instrument analyzer company that backs their product for a minimum of 10 years parts after the product is tagged "obsolete". I would say that could give someone a good 20 years worth on it. What a quality product that line is! None better, and I can see why they support such a warranty.

I would not look for that from HP, Dell, or anyone else in the computer game. The cloud changes about every five minutes, much less 20 years.

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 11:53 AM

It not only up-grade in security in Hardware and Software, its also just as important to adhering to the procedural policies.

If they don't follow procedural policies... hell, they might as well have their servers stuffed away in some 'mom and pop' server providers bathroom in Colorado.

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#6

Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 1:32 PM

I can see it all now: "Mr. Stewart, we had your data "shifted to the cloud", and one of our clerks has somehow misplaced that cloud. Would it be OK, if we just don't send you your social security check when you retire at age 66.925? (The age keeps moving up out in front of me).

You pays your money, and someone else takes chances with it.

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#7
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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 1:35 PM

Or,... Mr. Stewart?,.. We don't seems to have you in our system.

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 1:48 PM

No, it is usually more like, "We are sorry, Uncle Albert, but we haven't seen a thing all day." "We're so sorry Uncle Albert, and we haven't any records left to play."

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#10
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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 2:01 PM

or,...

Public Servant: "HEY, cant you see I'm busy with my game of solitary on the computer,.... Stop bothering me. "

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#11

Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 2:59 PM

I'm jumping in as a moderator here to say I'm so proud of all of you who have contributed so far to NOT make this a political soapbox.

In so many ways government policy and engineering/technology are inseparable. On CR4 we try to keep politics out of our discussions.

Perhaps this is a new age, or maybe just the beginning of the end...

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 3:22 PM

Oh, HUSH, we are way past the beginning of the end. Lost sight of the end of the beginning in the rear view mirror.

I don't care if the government puts data in the cloud. They already extract data from the cloud all the time.

As long as they have their own data farms with very highly secured sights, guards well heeled, there should be no problems. Nod, nod, wink, wink.

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Re: From Floppy Disks to Data Centers: The White House Brings in Tech Titans to Reva

06/28/2017 3:29 PM

And I like to thank you Moderators, after all this time when you could have, to finally jumping in, somewhat proactively.

Perhaps this is a new age, or maybe just the beginning of the end...

And yes, political speaking, it's a refreshing beginning for some and for others its the beginning of the end, but not the way they think.

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