Letter to the editor

In "The price of (near) perfection" [Federal Computer Week, Aug. 28, 2000], the chief information officer at Goddard Space Flight Center, Milton Halem, asked what it would cost to give Goddard's e-mail servers "99.999 percent" reliability.

I submit that no organization can reasonably justify the cost of providing a maximum of 5.526 seconds of downtime per year for e-mail. It's one thing to require perfection in heart valves and quite another for computer systems.

Instead of reaching for nirvana at taxpayer expense, NASA should first determine its real need for uptime and then look at options. The General Services Administration's advocacy of requirements analysis and analysis of alternatives is just common sense.

Victor H. Agresti

Senior Program Manager

Justice Department

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BY
October 03, 2000

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