Critical Read

Fed IT workers vote no confidence on data center uptime

astonished man in data center

What: "The Drive to Thrive: Ensuring the Agile Data Center," a MeriTalk survey of more than 300 agency field workers and federal IT professionals familiar with their agencies' data centers.

Why: Agencies rely on their data centers for a wide range of operations, but issues related to managing downtime erode the confidence of IT workers.

In MeriTalk's survey, which was underwritten by Symantec, 80 percent of federal IT workers said data center reliability is a top agency priority, but 42 percent said downtime left them unable to support their missions.

Federal field workers noted that real-time information access was crucial to their work and saved them 17 hours per week. That equates to about $32.5 billion in annual productivity savings. In the past month, 70 percent of agencies experienced downtime of 30 minutes or more, and 90 percent of field workers said the downtime affected their ability to do their jobs.

Thirty-six percent of field workers gave their IT departments a grade of C or lower for recent downtime management, and just 29 percent said they believe their IT departments fully understand the effect that downtime has on their ability to work.

Verbatim: "Nobody's going to give up their umbrella if the roof keeps leaking." -- MeriTalk founder Steve O'Keeffe

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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Reader comments

Wed, Aug 20, 2014

With all the uptime for data being centralized, they forgot to give the agencies enough speed to even access those data bases. We get so slow most of the times but when we complain the first words out of our Administrators mouth, that is the policy that the Administrative Office in Washington give us. I'm sorry but when you have area like Texas Western that cover a large area 6 MB of speed is not going to work. We have public service providers giving out 50 MB of speed cause they know that if the end users are not happy with there speed they will move on to someone else, maybe that is what we need to do. If we get rid of GSA imagine the money we would save not just in IT, but in every aspect of the our business from building leases, maintenance contracts to the toliet paper in the bath rooms. We are tied down to idiotic ideas of the old days. The goverment wants to cut something big, cue "GSA".

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

FCW, why not connect this analysis back to your 8/15 article that leads "Health agency wants Amazon cloud". Well, do they want Amazon cloud with no uptime requirement? We know Amazon traffics on its WH/EOP relationships. Is it more important that Mr. Park have us all buy Amazon or that we invest in projects with four-nine-plus providers (with associated costs)?

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

Well, what's funny is that Federal Government customers continue to force bidders to interpret Public Cloud requirements as "Amazon First", not "Cloud First". Well, AWS makes no guarantees of uptime. They won't even give you an SLA for it. So when the gov't MAKES me bid AWS, my company has to eat that risk. Whereas if they would allow me to bid the other FedRAMP providers, yes most cost more but at least the government would then get an uptime SLA. Yet again the government (buyer) talking out of both sides of their mouths. You can have an SLA as long as you are willing to pay for it. You want force us to bid the cheapest provider, and you get no SLA.

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