team working through holiday to make deadline

In the non-descript building at the headquarters of in Maryland, about 30 to 40 members of the post-rollout “tech surge” will be working through the Thanksgiving holiday. After the site failed to work in October — engineers, database architects and contractors from different companies were pulled together to work in one room.

“Imagine a room full of desks, that look like … those curved desks [at] a NASA control center,” says John Engates, chief technology officer for the server and software company Rackspace. He was one of half-dozen technologists invited by the White House to go inside the command center this week, get a briefing on how the tech surge is operating and talk out ways to improve government IT in the future.

“On the walls you have these giant flat-panel monitors [showing] metrics of how the site’s doing. Uptime metrics, performance metrics, graphs that show how different aspects of the website are performing in real time,” Engates says.