IBM censured after massive server screw up

Posted by a staff writer

The Texas secretary of state’s office has pulled electoral registration from an IBM facilities management deal following a server crash.

IBM had been tipped to manage the elections system but the failure of a server revealed serious flaws in the company’s capability to recover data, according to the Austin American-Statesman today.

The newspaper said that if a similar event had happened to voter registrations during an election, Texas would not have the ability to register voters properly.

According to the Statesman, the secretary of state got a "wake-up call" when a server crash led to a 13-day outage of the agency's business records filing system which exposed 'serious weaknesses in IBM's ability to recover lost data', according to secretary of state spokesman Randall Dillard.

If a similar failure had affected the agency's statewide voter registration data at the time of an election, Texas counties would not have been able to verify new voters as required by federal law.

"We couldn't allow the ability to conduct fair, credible elections to be jeopardized," Dillard added.

Most of the 27 agencies involved in the data center consolidation have expressed frustration with Big Blue. A survey of the agencies' information technology directors taken in the spring found that 88 percent of them were dissatisfied with the services provided by IBM.

The data center consolidation contract with IBM is worth $863 million. IBM has so far failed to comment on the SNAFU.

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Austin American-Statesman