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Mainframe Failure Shuts Down DMV, DHHR Computer Systems

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House Technology and Infrastructure Committee Chair Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, said that two mainframe parts failed at the same time.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Update, July 21, 2022 1:46 p.m.

Update, July 22, 2022 1:01 p.m.

West Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Health and Human Resources were among the state government agencies affected by a computer system outage on Tuesday.

House Technology and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, said that two mainframe parts failed at the same time.

“The parts were not available for the both of them here in town,” Linville said. “Because of that very unfortunate set of circumstances, multiple parts had to be ordered, and get here as quickly as possible.”

Both the DMV and DHHR, which includes the WV PATH family support system, offered alternative methods to receive services.

Linville said the state owns and houses the hardware and power systems for its mainframe operations. He said if the computer system were transferred to external servers, there would be infinitely more network backup to quickly restore an outage.

“If you put that in the cloud as opposed to having it on-site, you've got significant redundancy all across the country and the ability to reroute that traffic without anyone noticing any impact,” Linville said.

Linville said legislators and state leaders are working on transitioning the state’s computer system to the more cost effective external servers. He said even with natural disasters, a problem like this would not take the systems down.

“The DMV actually is getting a major upgrade very soon to their services that the legislature has already appropriated money for,” Linville said.

Linville said as of Thursday morning at 10 a.m.,the parts were in, but functionality had not yet been restored and the manufacturer had to recode the system.

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles released a statement Thursday afternoon says customers can take advantage of two online services - vehicle registration renewal and driver’s license renewal.

DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier said the services are available at all kiosk locations across the state.

The statement said while the mainframe outage is still affecting services like title work and driver record updates, DMV is continuing to do everything possible to assist customers.

"Our offices are absolutely open to the public," Frazier said. "We are answering questions, reviewing documents, and helping customers the best we can until the mainframe is repaired."

In his Friday coronavirus briefing, Gov. Jim Justice said technicians with the Office of Technology continue to work on getting the mainframe fully back online.

DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said the WV PATH app, allowing people to apply for benefits, still has problems. He said people can apply, but DHHR cannot process applications, so there will be a backlog to deal with when all systems are fully back online.

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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