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Minnesota Inks Deal With Microsoft on BPOS Services

The state of Minnesota has embraced Microsoft's Internet cloud services by agreeing to an application outsourcing deal.

Minnesota's Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) agreed to use Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) hosted services. BPOS will provide support for some of the state's collaboration and communications needs, including "e-mail, instant messaging, web-based collaboration and conferencing," according to a press release (PDF download) issued today by the OET.

The deal, which was established last week, will apply to "all executive branch agencies" in the state. However, other government agencies, educational institutions, cities and counties can participate if they wish, the OET's announcement explained.

One result of the switch will be an expansion of e-mail storage capacity for individual users of BPOS, from 100 MB to 5 GB. The state expects that the system's architecture, which connects Microsoft's BPOS services to Minnesota's network, will ensure data privacy too.

"In fact, the superior architecture of the applications and the state-of-the-art physical security of Microsoft's facility increases data security several fold, providing an instant upgrade to the State's security profile," said Gopal Khanna, Minnesota's state chief information officer, in a released statement.

Although Microsoft's BPOS server farms represent a shared network with multiple clients, the state contracted with Microsoft for dedicated hosting services "with no access by other Microsoft customers," Khanna explained in an interview. The OET has had a contract with Microsoft since 2009 to use Microsoft Exchange as its e-mail platform, he added.

Under the deal, the state will manage its communications network, but Microsoft will handle the hosted applications management and upgrades, which were a cost factor for the state, explained Tarek Tomes, OET's assistant commissioner. The financials associated with the deal were not announced.

Microsoft's BPOS services have gained a few government adherents. For instance, the city of Buda, Texas selected Microsoft's BPOS for e-mail services over bids by Google and other hosted service providers.

Microsoft and Google are currently contending over a possible hosted e-mail contract with the federal government's General Services Administration, according to a Microsoft blog post.

Microsoft previously lost out to Google in a bid to provide e-mail services to the city of Los Angeles. The city moved to replace an aging e-mail system largely based on Novell's GroupWise solution. However, the city's hosted e-mail deal with Google ran into trouble after Google failed to meet security requirements by the LAPD, it was reported in July.

Google explained in July that its Google Apps suite is now compliant with the Federal Information Security Management Act. Google created a "government cloud" called Google Apps for Government that separates calendar and e-mail data within the continental United States.

In August, Microsoft announced a Government Cloud Applications Center that's designed to connect government organizations with Microsoft's partners building applications for various needs. Those applications can be built based on BPOS hosted services or Windows Azure, which is Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Feb 2, 2014

Jeff - I'm with you 100% of the way, Cheryl, and I'm so glad you were able to be home to enjoy the snow this weekend! Tell your huanbsd that maybe it's God's way of helping him get the full benefit of a quiet weekend in Connecticut, so he should just sit back and enjoy it himself!And yes, Betsy, I am slightly jealous. It's currently 84b0 where I'm at, and the feels like is 89b0. Can't wait to get home to MN, where it's only half that! [url=]pmohzsghpvb[/url] [link=]nxxcib[/link]

Sun, Jan 19, 2014

Assumptions: black bear, thick north woods, shots anywhere from 50 yards out to 200 yards.Any http://t DOT deer rifle will do you just fine. I wouldn't go below .25 caliber, and if my assumption on maximum range is correct I'd avoid carbines firing pistol rounds such as .357 or .44 mag. Of course if you're sure any shot will be under 100 yards either of those would work fine.If your eyesight is excellent you can get away with open iron sights, otherwise go with a variable scope with a low range say a 2-7 or a 4 power fixed. It's just too easy to loose the target at close range with a high magnification scope.Recommendation: light weight short barrel bolt action rifle in .308 Win with 2 7 variable scope.And the story would be completely different were we talking grizzly or Alaskan brown bear. Then it would be .35 caliber or higher bolt gun or the Marlin guide lever action in .45-70.

Sat, Jan 18, 2014

It would be beneficial to know what tecnqihue you are using for bear hunting? Bait? Dogs? Spot and stalk?If you are using bait or dogs, I would suspect that your shots will be under 50 yards. The northern woods of WI, MN, and MI tend to be quite thick and you probably won't be able to see 100 yards much less make a shot that far. If you are attempting to spot and stalk, my guess is that you will be in more open areas (berry patches or maybe crop fields? I am not intimately familiar with the northern MN area, so I am not sure what is up there). The shots here would be longer.Personally, for bear I like to go 30 caliber and higher. Many smaller caliber cartridges will work just fine. However, fall bears tend to have a thicker fat layer and thicker hair. I like the larger hole to help ensure a good blood trail as the fat can kind if seal a wound and the hair can absorb some blood.My bear gun for brown or black bear is a 35 Whelen. This is a 30-06 necked up to 35 caliber. Recoil can be a bit stiff with heavy loads, but it is capable of throwing heavy 35 caliber bullets at a reasonable velocity. However, I am not sure you are going to find one of these for under $500. Besides, the 35 Whelen doesn't have much variety when it comes to factory ammo.If your shots are going to be shorter (like with baiting or hounds), a 30-30 should work just fine. It wouldn't be my first choice of a defense cartridge for bear, but if you are taking shots at a bear that is eating or that is treed and not going anywhere, a 30-30 would work just fine.If you have some familiarity with firearms and moderate recoil doesn't bother you, then a 30-06 is a fine choice as would be a 308 Win. Either with a 165 or 180 gr bullet would be an excellent black bear rifle and would also be a great deer rifle. You can pick up some winchester model 70s (post-64) on the used gun rack for very reasonable. You can get a fine shooter (though usually not perfect cosmetically) with an older scope for under $500 (I bought a Win 70 in a 30-06 made in 1968 with a scope on it for $200 last year on a private sale). You can rarely go wrong with a 30-06.There are a myriad of other cartridges I could suggest. However, the three 30 calibers I mentioned is what I would recommend to most people.

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 Dave Mexifornia

Attention Microsoft... Game On! I used to go to bat for you at my company. You are now trying to eliminate my job after all I've done for you. You can count on me to recommend anyone else but you.

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Answered my own question, based upon LA's experience: ( Microsoft probably is charging $15/month a user which you could compete with in-house, particularly if you dumped Microsoft and went OpenOffice running on Linux. Google, however, appears to charge around $4 a month...difficult to compete with. Let me see...since Minnesota has 32,861 (roughly) full and part time employees... Yeah, there is some money to be made. Besides the fact that Minnesota went for the most expensive email, I wonder if they're allowing Microsoft to bill for even part-time employees that aren't likely to even use email - let alone the collaboration features? Sometimes what people portray as significant savings are...something else. And before I quit messing up the layout of RedmondMag's website: Remember back before "somebody" decided everybody had to have access to the internet? Back before there were concerns about spam, and viruses, and trojans, and worms, and concerns about people viewing various versions of porn? Back when email could be dealt with via a couple of clustered Vaxes and some dumb terminals? Back when America's economy was in a lot better shape? Now, it is all, we get rid of jobs to include IT and not only permit those who are left to goof off, but provide them with the toys they need.

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Now I know "the cloud" is a scam.Further details of the announcement (from includes this: '"The agreement keeps the service management of our critical communications tools in State hands but leaves the costly application management to Microsoft's experts. This strategic sourcing opportunity allows for a paradigm shift in how critical business collaboration services are rendered to our customers," said Tarek Tomes, OET Assistant Commissioner for customer and service management.' lollll...expensive application management? Once you purchase the application, it just SITS there; the "service" side - protecting the integrity and privacy of the data, adding and deleting users, and so on - is the expensive side. You've already got the network side in place - else the user base couldn't access Microsoft India (or Bangladesh, whichever), either. To replicate the functionality (sans the inflexible and stasis-bound nature of "the cloud" beast, of course) they've purchased as a permanent and doomed to escalate fee, you'd need a few clustered virtual servers for redundancy and failover, a few RAID Wish these articles had included how much Minnesota is going to be paying; that might prove...amusing. Or a business opportunity, should Minnesota decide to elect Democrats who see value in employing local Minnesotans with their tax dollars.

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The announcement on ( has a curious statement: "But, of course, the public sector has different privacy and security demands than private industry. In Minnesota, Khanna said, officials have spent the past two years developing cyber-security policies and procedures. The new agreement helps with the state’s security posture as BPOS applications will be delivered online through a direct connection to Minnesota’s secure network. No Microsoft employees can access it, Khanna said." I began my career in encrypted systems long ago...and to this day I find it unlikely that a remotely-located system can be maintained - let alone troubleshot - if nobody at the remote location "can access it". If you cannot access the data, you cannot answer the question: "How come when we put good, clean data in all we're getting out garbage?".

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Another question: Ya reckon that Ghopal Khanna, Minnesota's CIO hired by Pawlenty, will be going to work for Microsoft - perhaps offshore, at the other end of the BPOS wire - when he leaves in December? Or maybe just setting up a competing company to underbid Microsoft once he gets a handle on the functionality of BPOS? The interesting thing, of course, is that this will undoubtedly result in IT jobs being cut in Minnesota. But hey - why does Minnesota need anybody with technical skills, anyway? Or anyplace else in America? Besides, this should do a fine job of finally eliminating the possibility of a state government worker leaking any politically...sensitive...emails to the press.

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 Russ California

Wow, maybe we should be all looking for work now that Microsoft is no longer a "partner", but a competitor. This is not good news as they will, most assuredly, manage all of this from out of country. This will potentially put their data at risk as well as their Minnesota workers out of work.

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