The White House Floppy Drive

Old Desktop

It was 2009 and the first African American President took office in January. The new CTO of the White House started that same day.

In an interview with Computer World, CTO Brook Colangelo describes those first 40 days in office. One might expect the nation’s capital to be a shining example of the technological prowess of the country. Instead Colangelo found old computers with floppy disk drives, no disaster recovery or redundant systems, or mobile access.

The story he tells is fraught with outages, long hours and budget battles. It was a modernization long overdue.

I wonder how many other IT infrastructures within the government are suffering from outdated hardware and software. Anyone who has had to call the IRS and wait for their “systems” would be willing to put money down on the IRS being one of the main offenders.

All of this goes to the importance of having a life-cycle policy in place for any and all systems you administer. If there isn’t a plan in place, even the oldest equipment will hang around as paperweights. Worse yet, someone might actually try to get you to use them again someday – when you don’t have the budget for something new.

So we’re wondering, what is the oldest piece of equipment still functional in your infrastructure? If you have the oldest computer you’ll win a prize – our sympathies!