The current edition of Federal Computer Week has an interesting article by Aliya Sternstein that describes the storage of records of great interest to future genealogists. Sternstein first describes the plans by the U.S. National Records and Archives Administration (NARA) to choose a design for the $500 million Electronic Records Archives project, which the agency hopes to have in place by 2011. That's a half billion dollars to store electronic records in a proper archive and it won't be fully operational for another six years.
Sternstein then goes on to describe a similar system designed by the State of Washington. It cost $14.5 million, about 3% of what the federal government plans to spend. Even better, it is in operation now.
Obviously, this is not a black and white comparison. There are many differences between the State of Washington's needs versus that of the federal government. Yet this article claims that the differences are not that huge and that perhaps NARA could save a few hundred million by emulating a working model already in operation versus re-inventing all the wheels.
You can find by Aliya Sternstein's interesting article at http://www.fcw.com/article89591-07-18-05-Print.