In a demonstration of cloud computing’s increasing stature in the real world, Washington state freshman state representative Reuven Carlyle called for scrapping a $300 million data center in favor of cloud computing last week.
“We are deeply troubled by the weakness of the technical and financial support behind this decision, and fear the state is potentially making a $300 million mistake,” Carlyle said in a letter to Governor Christine Gregoire published on Carlyle’s website. Co-written with Representative Hans Dunshee, the letter was first picked up by Pacific Northwest regional news site Crosscut.com
In a nutshell, the letter calls for a halt to a bond sale to fund the project and a review of existing cloud services, like “Google, Microsoft, Amazon or others as many companies and governments are doing today.” Further, it argues that the trend in outsourcing data and services is a fait accompli and a better use of taxpayer dollars.
Unfortunately, Carlyle’s letter sometimes reads like it was written by a jingo-happy IT vendor. To wit: “How best to efficiently and effectively move away from hardware-centric, expensive, proprietary, silos of data trapped in old databases to open, transparent, flexible, accessible, customer-oriented applications available via the Internet?” he asks.
(I think we’ve all snoozed through that PowerPoint talk, no?)
This is understandable. Carlyle comes fresh from the communications industry, where silos are not filled with grain and budgets are fine-tuned with an axe, as opposed to government, where silos are more than likely filled with grain and budgets are fed like foie gras geese.
Dunshee appears to be a more traditional politician; interestingly, he lists many unions as backers, groups likely to want state construction dollars.
It’s unclear why Carlyle and Dunshee believe the new IT infrastructure would go to waste. What’s notable, however, is that cloud is now commonplace enough that a politician will throw it out there and hold traditional IT up as the poorer model. That’s a long step in discourse from “cutting edge.”