UPDATED 21:00 EDT / AUGUST 06 2020


Census Bureau partners with T-Rex Solutions to count US population during COVID-19

In the information-technology world, there are plenty of projects with daily, weekly or even monthly deadlines. There are not many where the end product must be designed and executed once every 10 years.

Yet, that is exactly what is required for the U.S. to count its residents as defined by the Constitution, a process known as the Decennial Census. Until this year, the process involved a heavy amount of manual tabulation. However, the 2020 census offered an internet self-response portal for the first time, a project that earned T-Rex Solutions LLC a “Most Customer Obsessed Mission Based Win – Federal Civilian” award from Amazon Web Services Inc.

“This was one of the largest federal IT projects in the cloud to-date,” said Jared Bell (pictured, left), engineering manager at T-Rex Solutions. “We had to bring together a whole lot of solutions, and the internet self-response was one of the major components. We had to design an IT solution to support 260 field offices, 16,000 field staff, 400,000 mobile devices and users. It was a really big effort.”

Bell spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, about the AWS Public Sector 2020 Partner Awards Program. He was joined by Michael Thieme (pictured, right), assistant director for the Decennial Census Programs, Systems and Contracts at the U.S. Census Bureau, and they discussed how partners and clients adapted to the global pandemic and the various AWS cloud services deployed to modernize the agency’s IT operation. (* Disclosure below.)

77 million online responses

What T-Rex Solutions and the Census Bureau did not put into its early operational plan was a global shutdown caused by COVID-19. Fortunately for both parties, reliance on the public cloud made a positive difference as the agency modernized its infrastructure.

“The way that we set up to do the census with the cloud and the IT modernization approach that we took luckily enabled us to get through this whole thing,” Thieme said. “Out of 140 million households in the U.S., we’ve gotten 77 million people to respond on our site without one second of downtime. That flexibility, expandability, elasticity that being in the cloud gives our IT capabilities was really valuable this time.”

The more modernized census was a product of numerous AWS services. Working with the Census Bureau, T-Rex deployed over 30 of the AWS FedRAMP solutions to stand up an environment across 52 systems, according to Bell.

“We ran the gamut of AWS services to make all of this work,” Bell said. “Because of the way we were able to architect it in partnership with AWS, though we all had to stay at home, the infrastructure remained rock solid. We didn’t have to worry about being hands-on with the equipment.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Public Sector 2020 Partner Awards Program. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the AWS Public Sector 2020 Partner Awards Program. Neither AWS, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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