Census implementing virtualization-first policy

Friday - 5/13/2011, 6:37pm EDT

Brian McGrath, the chief information officer at the Census Bureau, says his agency is about to implement a “virtualization-first” policy.

He tells Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller, “All new applications will be serviced via a virtualized guest as opposed to a bare-metal deployment of hardware. Unless there is a compelling engineering or architechture reason to do so, we see significant opportunities for cost savings.”

McGrath says this new policy will allow the Census Bureau to transition its data centers “from one of only servicing the Census Bureau to being positioned to service and provide compute and store resources, and cooling resources, and secure resources for other government agencies.”

In fact, McGrath says the International Trade Agency, a sister organization of the Census Bureau, will close one of its data centers in June and move into a Census data center.

The Census Bureau is also in the process of closing some of its own data centers. By the end of 2011, it will close six that were stood up for the 2010 census.

McGrath tells Miller the Census Bureau is also in the process of testing the use of the Internet to collect data as part of its preparation for the 2020 count. By the end of this year, the Bureau will have conducted 60 American Community Surveys online.

As for the storage of all that data, McGrath says that’s staying in the Bureau’s private cloud.

“Any of our sensitive data, personal identifiable information, or Title 13 or Title 26 data, which we are stewards of, will remain in our private cloud. At this point, we’re not seeing any capacity issues. We’re obviously always focused and concerned about IT security to ensure that we could manage the flow of information, store the information, and secure it in such a way as to protect the identity and integrity of the information we are currently capturing.”

Listen to Jason’s interview with McGrath.