L.A. Sticks With Google Cloud Computing Despite Delays

The Los Angeles City Council this week voted to forge ahead with a city-wide Google cloud computing deployment despite delays and security concerns that have plagued the $7.25 million project.

In a brief statement posted on Google's Enterprise Blog, Google Operations Director Jocelyn Ding wrote that "the Los Angeles city council voted unanimously in favor of completing the City's move to Google Apps."

The City Council revisited the City of L.A.'s cloud computing plan after Google and implementation partner CSC missed the June 30 deadline to complete the project, which involved cutting roughly 34,000 municipal employees over to Google Apps, the search giant's cloud computing suite.

Google and CSC missed the deadline due to security and performance concerns raised by the city and some of its agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Because of the concerns, the LAPD's 13,000 personnel have stayed on the city's old Novell GroupWise system while other local agencies made the leap to Google for e-mail and collaboration capabilities in the cloud. The LAPD also wants to ensure that its data is encrypted and physically protected, in accordance with California law, and that Google employees who may be able to access LAPD data undergo background checks.

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Along with deciding to move forward with the Google cloud computing plan, the City Council also said this week that Google has agreed to cover the cost of the old Novell system until the cut over to Google is complete. According to the Los Angeles Times it could cost as much as $415,000 in added costs if the project isn't completed by June 2011.

Since word of the delays spread, Google has maintained that the project is still on track and that it should be completed within the next couple of months, most likely in November. Before the project is finished, Google and CSC must quell the security fears and data regulations required by the state's Department of Justice along with completing a successful pilot with the LAPD.

"Within a few months and in less than a year since the project began, we expect that all 30,000 city employees, including the 13,000 members of the Los Angeles Police Department and other public safety officials, will be migrated to Google Apps," Google's Ding wrote. "L.A.’s move to the cloud is the first of its kind, and it’s not surprising that it’s taken a little longer than anticipated to identify and address all of the City’s unique requirements. We’re very pleased with the progress to date, and are committed to making this a great success for Los Angeles and a milestone for cloud computing."