Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Orders Review of Computer Outage

A damaged storage area network was fully repaired as of Thursday, Sept. 2, according to Northrop Grumman.

by / September 2, 2010

Virginia will independently review a computer meltdown that knocked computers offline for a week at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and two other agencies.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Thursday that his administration and the state Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee will commission a third-party vendor to perform an independent review of the storage area network failure that initially knocked out 485 for the state's 4,800 servers and interrupted service to more than two dozen state agencies.

Northrop Grumman, which manages and services the state's IT in partnership with Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), said Thursday that the faulty storage area network was fully repaired.

"Northrop Grumman deeply regrets the disruption and inconvenience this has caused state agencies and Virginia citizens," Linda A. Mills, president of Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said in a statement. "Over the last week, we have deployed significant resources, and our staff has worked tirelessly in unison with VITA and our partners to thoroughly verify and restore access to data, and restore normal operations to the agencies."

The company has agreed to pay the cost of the independent review, according to McDonnell's office.

"I have spoken personally with Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush. I expressed to him that extended lapses in state computer services was an unacceptable hardship on our citizens and employees," McDonnell said in a statement. "I made clear that I expected the best around-the-clock recovery efforts possible in order to reclaim and restore all missing files and data. I appreciate the company's commitment to a full and comprehensive recovery from this system failure, and the agreement that Northrop Grumman would pay for the reasonable cost of the independent review that must take place immediately."

Northrop Grumman's Mills said the company would learn from the incident in order to improve response times for restoring service to agencies.

"This recent computer failure is unacceptable," McDonnell said. "I look forward to learning exactly how this occurred, how we can prevent such a disruption in the future, and how we can improve responsiveness and data reclamation if future interruptions occur. The report produced by our external vendor will be thorough and detailed. And, we will move forward quickly and resolutely once it has been received and reviewed by the executive and legislative branches."

Service was restored Thursday to the DMV's customer service centers, allowing them to process driver's license applications for the first time in a week. The locations will extend their business hours to process the expected backlog.


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