Report from the Cloud

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Ok it’s been about 2 weeks now since the Borough of West Chester moved their email services from an on-premises exchange server to Microsoft’s cloud with “Exchange Online“. So far so good. During these first 2 weeks we have had everything. As we all know nothing is 100% perfect, except perhaps “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn” (I will explain this later). After migrating everyone over to the cloud and on the eve of heading to Disney World for a much needed break Microoft began experiencing what they call “service degregation”. This meant that mail flow during the early hours on May 12, 2011 stopped. The good news was that I noticed this at about 5:50 AM and quickly contacted Microsoft Online Support. A technician reported that they were aware of the problem and working on it. A work-around was offered but before anyone arrived in the office the “cloud” was back in service.

New technology can be a little scary and no one really likes change. However I believe that today’s world economic situation demands bold and visionary decisions in respect to keeping cost down while striving to offer the best that technology has to offer. The “cloud”, I believe will be critical during the next several years, providing organizations with the ability to keep technology cost down while (at the same time) providing high end technological services.

As the “service incident” on May 12, 2011 demonstrates nothing is easy and we will need to learn to “roll with the punches” during these hard economic times if we are to move even more services to the cloud in the future.

We can do this! In the decades past, business was done without the internet and email services. If these services are down from time to time, pick the phone up, reach out and talk to eachother. I do not expect service interruptions to be normal, however we should always be prepared. Keeping cost down is mission critical in these times, and working together the Borough of West Chester will find success and efficent government.

The Borough of West Chester maintains an information technology cost (capitol & salary) that is only 1% of it’s annual budget. That is something we can be very proud of. Migrating adapatable services to the cloud will help the borough to sustain such a small cost in this area which is something every taxpayer will be thankful for.