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IRS Not Yet Ready to Move to Linux Due to Its Own Errors
IRS Not Yet Ready to Move to Linux Due to Its Own Errors
Poor IT governance blamed for super-slow transition
Dec 12, 2018 10:02 GMT  ·  By Bogdan Popa  ·            
The move to Linux is now supposed to complete by the end of FY2020

The migration to Linux embraced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has hit major roadblocks, many caused by what an audit describes as poor IT governance.

According to a plan announced in 2014, the IRS intended to move a total of 141 legacy applications to Linux operating systems, hoping that it could save millions of dollars by embracing open-source alternatives.

In fact, estimates offered by the IRS before beginning the transition to Linux pointed to savings of up to $12 million over the next five years for just one system, all thanks to reduced costs with licensing fees.

And while it all sounded like an easy migration to Linux, the process takes substantially more time, with only eight of all applications transitioned to open-source systems until February 2018.
"Migration due to end in FY2020"

The audit conducted by the Treasure Inspector General for Tax Administration reveals several errors that were made when planning the switch to Linux, including not thinking in advance that staff would need training to use Linux systems.

“The business case relied upon to authorize the decision to go forward did not include key factors, such as the time required to train employees on how to set up and support a Linux environment. Specifically, the Enterprise Services function needed trained personnel with specific technical skills to perform proper capacity planning, performance analysis, and performance testing,” the audit reveals.

“In addition, the Applications Development function did not have staff with the required technical skills needed to determine the scope of the Linux Migration Project.”

While moving from Solaris to open-source Linux was supposed to be a cost-effective transition, it eventually ended up costing more than anticipated, as the organization had to spend a total of $814,272 on support services because its staff lacked the technical skills to carry out the migration.

This doesn’t mean the transition to Linux would be abandoned, however. Based on a series of recommendations, including setting up a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, the IRS is projected to move to Linux in the next two years, with a deadline of completing the process by the end of the fiscal year 2020.

You can read the detailed audit here.

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