NSA Data Center Falling Apart; Opening Delayed One Year

Obamacare exchanges aren’t the only things that have proven to be train wrecks. The number of people actually applying for polices is so embarrassingly low that the White House won’t say how few around the country have signed up. Of course, part of the reason is that the websites had glitches and were crashing, and I’m sure people just gave up. It led Boehner to ask, “How can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn’t work?”

Well, it looks like a similar thing is going on with the NSA’s gigantic $2 billion data center located in Bluffdale, Utah. I know we’re not supposed to rejoice at the downfall of our enemies, but I couldn’t help but chuckle a little.

Technical glitches have sparked fiery explosions within the NSA’s newest and largest data storage facility in Utah, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and delaying the facility’s opening by one year. And no one seems to know how to fix it… Within the last 13 months, at least 10 electric surges have each cost about $100,000 in damages, according to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Experts agree that the system, which requires about 64 megawatts of electricity—that’s about a $1 million a month energy bill–isn’t able to run all of its computers and servers while keeping them cool, which is likely triggering the meltdowns… Communications from all around the world in the form of emails, cell phone calls and Google searches, among other digital details are stored in the center’s databases, which are said to be larger than Google’s biggest data center. But due to the major system meltdowns, the NSA hasn’t been able to use the center’s databases, which it has claimed are crucial for national security.

Forbes described some of the things that were happening:

…[T]he data center’s electrical problems include “arc failures,” a.k.a. “a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box,” which results in fiery explosions, melted metal and circuit failure. More terrifying, this has happened ten times, most recently on September 25, reports the WSJ, which reviewed project documents and reports and talked to contractors involved. The report blames the NSA “fast tracking” the Utah project and thus bypassing “regular quality controls in design and construction.”

According to one person familiar with the database construction, the appliances were put too close together, and that was the main problem. But hey, I guess it was “good enough for government work.” Kind of like the Obamacare exchange websites.