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The Blob

The BlobHey kids, remember the 1958 horror classic “The Blob”? Well guess what? We’re living through a real life version right now, and it’s called Obamacare. For those of you who don’t remember the picture, it starred a very young Steve McQueen, and he battled this big goopy thing from outer space. The scary part of the Blob was that whatever it touched became, well, blobby. So with each new victim, the Blob got bigger and bigger, and your only hope for survival was not to let it touch you. Although it didn’t move very fast, it almost devoured an entire city in just one night, so that shows you just what kind of damage a motivated alien life form can do. As our friends at Verizon Terramark just found out this week, Obamacare seems to have that same kind of blobby effect on everything it touches too.

I’m sure the guys at Terramark were thrilled to win the contract to house the apparatus to support this whole debacle, I mean government initiative—think about it. If they paid $600 million for just the website, just imagine what they were willing to shell out for the data center and network. Unfortunately, like so many that have been touched by one of the sprawling tentacles of the healthcare overhaul—in the past we used to call them citizens—our friends have experienced a little blobbiness of their own.

As we can all agree there, is no good time for a network outage, but when your data center is supporting a website that even avid supporters like Paul Krugman are politely describing as “klugey”, you don’t want to add to its problems. So imagine how bad the Terramark boys felt when a few million healthcare enthusiasts couldn’t access the system because of a data center related issue? Of course the guys quickly identified the problem and got thing up and going again—at least at their end. However, you have to wonder if some of the folks are beginning to wonder if this might portend more bad things to come? Let’s face it, some things are just “turd magnets”, and this one certainly has some positive polarity going on. While I don’t think that Obamacare will go full on Blob on our friends by engulfing them in a sea of problems, I don’t think the Terramark marketing people are going to be including this one in their reference materials either.

As this thing continues to grow, and requires more data center space, it will be interesting to see how the industry deals with it. I suppose that the allure of government dollars will be too enticing for some to deny, but I’ll bet there are also a bunch of us out there that hope that the copy of the new RFP with our name on it gets lost in the mail. The Blob factor may wear off at some point in time, but haven’t we all seen enough horror movies to know that things rarely work out well for the guy who walks down the dark hallway and opens THAT door?

The feds have promised us that they are going to get this whole healthcare.gov thing fixed. They say they are working 24×7 and have the best and brightest folks working on it. I’m still a little skeptical. The federal government got involved in trying to deal with the Blob too, but in the end, the guy who saved us was Steve McQueen. Oh, that life was more like the movies.