SiT #8 – The Worst Government IT Decision – Ever

Speaking in Tech: It’s the eighth episode of our enterprise tech podcast – and it’s a special one. The podcast is split up into two parts: in the first part, your hosts interview a journalist investigating the State of West Virginia’s absurd purchase of drastically oversized Cisco routers – it’s an incredible story you have to hear to believe.

Our special guests this week are Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette and Fred Nix, a vSpecialist with EMC.

You can listen to the episode in iTunes or on The Register.

Show notes and episode details after the jump…

After catching up with Ed and Sarah, we start the podcast with an interview with Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette about the paper’s investigation into a suspicious $24 million Cisco router purchase by the State of West Virginia using U.S. Federal Stimulus Funds for the purpose of “homeland security”. The enterprise routers, which are sized for at least 500 users and are typically used for thousands of users, were purchased for schools and libraries with a single computer.

The original story appeared in the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia and apparently…

The state purchased 1,064 cisco routers two years ago, after receiving a $126 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet across West Virginia.

The Cisco 3945 series routers, which cost $22,600 each, are built to serve “tens of thousands” of users or device connections, according to a Cisco sales agent. The routers are designed to serve a minimum of 500 users.

Yet state broadband project officials directed the installation of the stimulus-funded Cisco routers in West Virginia schools with fewer than a dozen computers and libraries that have only a single terminal for patrons.

In the interview we learn:

  • A Cisco rep confirmed the routers were dramatically oversized
  • At one library, the router cost more than the structure of the library itself
  • The routers were purchased by the state without a formal Request for Proposal by a single person after consulting with a Cisco salesman
  • The Cisco salesman retired after the $24 Million deal
  • Of the 1,064 routers purchased, 366 were never installed and are sitting in a warehouse

We get unwound with our special guest this week – Fred Nix, a vSpecialist at EMC

  • We dig into what a vSpecialist really does
  • We explore how critical vSpecialists are to the culture of EMC
  • How EMC has evolved internally
  • Recap Fred’s skiing accident

Finally, we wrap up with “10 Big Questions” for Fred Nix.

This is the now famous, Bacon Sex Log

Bacon Sex Log