CA SoS blames ‘cloud’ for massive election night Web failure

Home Forums Technology CA SoS blames ‘cloud’ for massive election night Web failure

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Debra Bowen 9 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #114070

    Adriel Hampton

    I’m not read up on how the State of California is using ‘the cloud,’ but it’s sure giving it a bad rap with this one.

    Secretary of State ‘blames overload of cloud computing’ for crash of vote-result system

    I know we have a lot of vendor analysts active here on GovLoop regarding cloud issues. I’d like to hear what folks think actually happened here, as I know there could have been many points of failure. I’m also a bit concerned about SoS Debra Bowen’s tweets on this failure, where she is saying they had been promised unlimited bandwith. Is this a 50-server data center, or is it metered public cloud? It appears to be the former.

    This issue sure highlights how vacuous it can be to use the term “cloud” when referring to many different types of data center structures.

  • #114078

    Debra Bowen

    I’m using “cloud” as in “cloud.” We were using Rackspace, which has now issued a formal apology. Here’s the text (I’ll post the pdf tomorrow so people have the original document):

    “We at Rackspace wish to apologize to the Secretary of State and the people of California for the mistakes we made which prevented results of the Nov. 2 election from being reported in a timely manner.

    Officials in the California Secretary of State’s office called Rackspace well before the election and asked what measures would be needed to handle the spike in website traffic that they expected on Election Day.

    We have the equipment and experience to handle such traffic spikes, and told them so. But we did not comprehend the extremely high volume of traffic that was expected, and we failed to deploy the appropriate resources. We regret this error, and we apologize for it.

    We are taking steps to see that it doesn’t happen again, to any of our customers. We are also refunding to the Secretary of State all charges for services related to this incident.”

  • #114076

    Adriel Hampton

    Secretary Bowen, thanks for your response. The “50 servers” line in the LA Times story made it unclear what actually happened, and I appreciate the follow up.

  • #114074

    Steve Ressler

    Thanks for follow-up. Glad everything was refunded

  • #114072

    Harry Herbert

    As I live in California and did experience the crash of the SOS site election night, cloud computing is getting a bum rap. In my previous job I helped set up county websites to send information to the SOS for the election night results. This main factors in cloud computing are bandwidth and the equipment through which the info is passing. The state does not have the most state-of-the-art equipment and was most likely the cause. Just because it is the newest thing does not mean it is the best thing for your operation.

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