NASA discusses challenges of data center consolidation

Wednesday - 11/3/2010, 1:21pm EDT

It’s been more than nine months since the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative began with the intent to reduce energy usage, lower IT costs and improve security. And some federal agencies are discovering that it’s difficult to reduce spending without putting some money upfront first.

NASA is just one of the federal agencies trying to streamline their IT practices and improve efficiency. Chris Kemp, NASA’s chief technology officer for IT, says it’s been a challenge to consolidate because the agency uses many different types of IT infrastructure.

Kemp says aggregating data wouldn’t be such a daunting task if the agency had the same type and size of servers and other universal equipment. The virtualization transition will take several years and Kemp says the IT department is researching how they can achieve maximum savings.

NASA is also working with company that provides software-as-a-service model that will collect information from an appliance installed on the network and send that information back to an analytical engine in their own data center.

Federal agencies submitted their data center consolidation plans to the Office of Management and Budget two months ago. OMB is going through the plans and hopes they’ll be put into action next year.