Cable trouble undercuts FCC's huge cloud move

Shutterstock image (by Vadim Ermak): cloud computing cable, data storage concept.

(Vadim Ermak / Shutterstock)

So a commercial cloud kingdom was lost – all for want of a properly connected cable?

The FCC’s massive move to commercial cloud has been delayed after a cable-centered snafu, and it has sent employees scrambling.

The FCC’s initial notice of the Labor Day weekend upgrades said the work would be wrapped up by 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8. Two hours after that deadline passed, the agency tweeted that work would stretch until 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10.

“It was supposed to be done this weekend, but they told us not to come into work because it didn’t happen,” one FCC employee told FCW. “Oh well.” The employee said Office 365 remained accessible remotely for FCC employees.

“FCC employees with an existing telework agreement have had the option to telework,” an FCC spokesperson told FCW on Sept. 9. “The Internet at the headquarters has been down during the back-end IT upgrades thus some employees have chosen to telework in order to access email.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the work should be wrapped up by Sept. 10.

“With a massive server move of this scale – even with detailed planning, independent verification, and backup plans – the opportunity always exists for surprises, especially with legacy IT systems, nearly 400 program applications, and hundreds of servers,” wrote FCC CIO David Bray, the man powering the move, in a Sept. 8 blog post. After seven moving vans full of equipment arrived at their new home safely on Sept. 4, “we discovered the need for some additional cabling to be done by our commercial partners that took longer than expected,” Bray wrote.

Bray did not name the “commercial partners,” but the FCC spokesperson pointed to IBM, saying “the commission has partnered with IBM on this very complex project during which we physically moved more than 200 servers off-site.”

Bray was scheduled to keynote the NextGov Prime conference Sept. 9, but he was a last-minute cancellation. Conference organizers attributed his absence to his needing to help sort out the situation at his agency.

(Bray did stay connected to the event on Twitter, living up to his “one-man tweet storm” reputation.)

While employees might be without Internet at headquarters, the FCC has hurried to get public-facing services online, with the Electronic Comment Filing System and the Electronic Document Management System back up Sept. 8.

Many other systems will remain offline until Sept. 10, the agency said.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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