OMB updates data center consolidation targets

Friday - 10/7/2011, 11:25am EDT

Jared Serbu, Reporter, Federal News Radio

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The Office of Management and Budget has upped the ante on the number of data centers it expects agencies to close, how much money it expects to save, and how deeply it wants to drill down into the federal IT inventory to consolidate infrastructure.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Steven VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer, said OMB now thinks agencies will close 472 data centers by the end of 2012, up from a previous estimate the office gave in July of 373 closures. By the end of 2015, VanRoekel said, the goal is 962 centers.

Additionally, OMB is changing its definition of data centers as agencies cull through their IT inventories for consolidation. Before, they were looking at spaces that were larger than 500 square feet. VanRoekel said OMB now wants to capture infrastructure in smaller spaces, like phone equipment closets, where servers might be stored. Agency consolidation plans will now include spaces down to 100 square feet.

"I basically told the team when I came on board that I wanted to scope it so that everything was game," he said. "We should be looking at everything down to wiring closets. We have to look in every corner, and thinking about how we optimize across the entire landscape was the goal."

The new definition will expand the number of spaces that OMB counts in the federal data center inventory to around 2,800, VanRoekel said. The administration had previously been using a figure of about 2,100.

But the new definition will also let agencies find more savings, Van Roekel said. OMB now expects the government to save $630 million in the short-term and as much as $5 billion in the out years, up from previous estimates of $3 billion.

On Friday, the 24 agencies on the CIO council's data center task force updated their strategies for closing data centers. Van Roekel said agencies will compile new closure targets and progress reports by the end of this year.

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