Inadequate Governance Leads to Linux Migration Delays at IRS

An inspector general audit to review a cost-saving database migration project within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found that inadequate governance of the project led to poor planning and significant delay, delaying cost savings of $12 million.

The IRS hosts 190 applications on the Solaris Sun Sparc system, with 141 of those targeted for migration to the open-sourced Linux operating system. The audit found that the project staff lacked the technical skills and training required to carry out the migration.

In 2013, an IRS analysis found that migrating their E-file system to Linux would save costs on paying $12 million in licensing fees over five years with Solaris. The plan was to migrate 33 percent of the target applications to Linux by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, and 66 percent by the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

However, the audit found that only eight of the 141 applications had been moved by February 2018. It was also discovered that the zLinux hardware purchased for $6.8 million in September of 2016 has been underutilized.

The IG recommended that Gina Garza, IRS CIO, ensure the Linux Migration Project be operated under a governance board that aligns with the organization’s governance model and that the acquisition of any hardware, service, and support includes a well-developed plan, process for utilization and a reasonable timeline.

“In addition, the Chief Information Officer should ensure that the Linux Migration Project implements its planned disaster recovery and business continuity strategy utilizing alternate site processing,” the IG wrote.

The IRS agreed with all three recommendations.

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