An irreparable mainframe and backup for 12 US department agencies in the State of Virginia has had its IT systems replaced, thus bringing an end to a standoff between its operator, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and public body charged with IT acquisitions for state departments, the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA). 

It’s not me it’s you 

The operator initially refused to allow third party access to its data center - the Southwest Enterprise Solutions Center (SWESC), located in Lebanon, Russell County - and VITA declined to sign a liability agreement which it stated was too broad and may be turned against it in its pending lawsuit with the aerospace company, but the pair finally reached an agreement on 27th July, and the facility then saw its IT systems fixed by IBM technicians contracted by the public body. 

The computer mainframe is the only backup for workloads associated with the Virginia retirement system and several state agencies including the departments of motor vehicles, social services and taxation. Last year, a switch failure at the main facility in Chester caused state agencies to go offline for four hours when the backup systems failed, exacerbating tensions between the pair.

Despite the $2.3 billion contract binding state and contractor signed in 2007 and due to expire in 2019, VITA wishes to open up its IT purchasing to multiple vendors, but Northrop Grumman has claimed this would cause security concerns and raise costs for tax payers. Both parties have launched legal pursuits against one another.