Analysis: Data center consolidation will be complicated

Monday - 8/15/2011, 5:00pm EDT

Derrick Harris, senior analyst and curator of cloud computing, GigaOM Pro

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Vivek Kundra has made data center consolidation one of the hallmarks of his legacy. But some federal IT people think the government could wind up with more data centers than they have now, not less.

Agencies must reduce data centers from nearly 2,100 to 800 by 2015.

Derrick Harris, senior analyst and curator of cloud computing at GigaOM Pro, writes legacy apps used by agencies now will complicate the consolidation.

"Unless agencies are willing to rewrite their applications to take advantage of new application environments and tools, the result might be fewer, but highly complex, data centers that are a nightmare to manage," Harris writes in GigaOM.

Some of these apps rely on "custom architecture that maybe has been taped together over decades," Harris said in an interview with In Depth.

It's also possible the government will end up with more data centers.

"As there's more demand for applications and as data volumes grow, you really end up needing more capacity. Period," Harris said.