VanRoekel expands data center consolidation goals again

Wednesday - 12/21/2011, 2:07pm EST

The number of federal data centers slated for closure continues to go up.

Federal chief information officer Steven VanRoekel said agencies will shut down 1,200 data centers by 2015, or 40 percent of the 3,133 that existed as of the 2010 inventory by agencies.

This is the second increase in the governmentwide goal since VanRoekel became federal CIO in August. He announced in October the governmentwide goal would increase to 962 from 800 under the initial goal. But as OMB expanded the definition of a data center to those of any size instead of those of more than 500 square feet, the administration saw an opportunity to close down more centers.

VanRoekel wrote on a blog yesterday agencies were well ahead of schedule. OMB reported agencies were on track to close:

  • 215 data centers in 2011
  • 525 data centers by the end of 2012
  • 1,080 data centers by the end of 2015

VanRoekel said agencies will have to continue to be aggressive in closing down duplicative data centers.

"While we continue to rack up closures and focus on consolidation opportunities to maximize savings, it's equally important to focus on the efficiencies of the data centers that remain in our inventory," VanRoekel wrote. "These data centers, which will take on additional work as we consolidate, will become the centerpieces of service delivery to American taxpayers. That is why the interagency group leading the effort has begun to focus on the efficiencies of the data centers we keep. We need to ensure we are delivering better service to the American people for less. Accordingly, agencies will focus on computing power and density instead of capacity, taking advantage of current technologies that deliver more bang for the buck."

He added several agencies already are seeing benefits from closing down data centers. The Defense Department estimates it will save $3 billion from closing down redundant facilities, and already have closed down 55 of their 772 data centers.

Every agency has issued data center consolidation plans over the last few months detailing the steps each will take to close down these facilities.

VanRoekel highlighted the Census Bureau's efforts to close a contractor-operated facility that will help them avoid spending $1.7 million in 2012.

"Simultaneously, Census is busy enhancing its remaining facilities and now hosts data center services for the International Trade Administration (ITA), another part of the Department of Commerce, and offers co-location and hosting services to extend opportunities for efficiencies to other government agencies," he wrote. "When combined with robust uses of virtualization and cloud technologies, Census has reduced the data center power consumption of all its data centers by 10 percent."

OMB and the CIO Council will issue by March a set of data center consolidation best practices, and by June, the General Services Administration will create a governmentwide marketplace to better utilize spare capacity within operational data centers, according to a July 2011 memo from former federal CIO Vivek Kundra.

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