Act of God inspires Arizona’s move to cloud

Deus ex machina was a concept in classical Greek and Roman drama, literally “god from the machine”, whereby a deity was unexpectedly introduced, lowered from a crane, to save the day or decide the final outcome. Such irrational and unrealistic developments today are sometimes replications of this ancient spectacle.

One such act of God, as insurers might classify it, happened in Arizona. There, sand or dust storms are neither irrational nor unexpected but an event that measured mile high and 100 miles wide presented a certain peculiarity. The dust storm totally knocked out data center services for three days and as a result was a catalyst for the state Chief Information Officer Morgan Reed’s aggressive move toward cloud services.


I caught up with Reed at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Summit last month and more recently on Federal News Radio, part of the Federal News Network. We had a chance to explore his challenges and the progress he’s made.

Reed explained that upon his appointment Gov. Doug Ducey demanded that Arizona operate more like a business and Reed had his mandate. The state could no longer accept incremental improvements; a total transformation was required beginning with its technology component.

This aligned well with Reed’s rationale for accepting the appointment.

“What really drove me to the state is the opportunity to make a difference, to have an impact in the state and community I call home,” he said.



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