Government // Enterprise Architecture
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10/11/2011
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Feds Accelerate Data Center Consolidation

Government agencies now plan to to close nearly 1,000 data centers and save $630 million through 2015.

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The Federal CIO Council has released agencies' updated plans for the federal government's broad data-center consolidation strategy, which now aims to close nearly 1,000 data centers by 2015 rather than an earlier projected 800.

Twenty-four departments and agencies posted their updated plans online, however, the Department of Defense--one of the agencies that will cut back the most on facilities--posted only a statement saying it will make its updated plan public sometime in the next 30 days.

Of the plans made available, the Department of Interior (DOI) has one of the most aggressive. The department aims to reduce it data centers by at least 45% by the end of calendar year 2015. The plan also includes a strategic use of virtualization to allow the department to reduce its number of physical servers by 25% in the same time period.

[ The feds aren't the only ones consolidating data centers. Read NYC Orders Data Center Consolidation ]

The DOI already has consolidated 13 facilities against its target of 18 by the end of 2012. By the end of 2015, the department aims to consolidate 95 facilities, according to its plan.

The department aims to have all of its facilities consolidated by the end of 2014, ahead of the feds' target. That year, DOI will engage in most of its closure activity, aiming to shut down 59 centers.

The timeline for the rest of DOI's closures is to close 11 by the end of 2012 and the remaining seven by the end of 2013.

Interior also plans to reduce operating costs, data-center floor space, and power costs considerably, although it does not currently have specific projections for how much it will cut back, according to its plan.

Moreover, every one of the data centers left standing at the end of its consolidation plans will have power meters to improve the department's "understanding of data center power consumption and facilitate future total cost of ownership accounting, according to the DOI's plan.

By its own acknowledgement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been one of the leaders of the federal consolidation initiative. In its plan, it said it's "been in the process of consolidation and migration for several years," even before the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) officially kicked off.

When it assessed its number of data centers to plan how it would consolidate, the DHS came up with 43 primary locations. It plans to pare these down to two DHS enterprise data centers by the end of 2015, according to its plan.

Specifically, the DHS will close six data centers by the end of this year; 10 by the end of 2012; 15 by the end of 2013; six more by the end of 2014; and one final data center in "minor consolidation activity" during 2015, according to its plan.

Former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra introduced the original plan to drastically cut back on the number of federal data centers, which is now being overseen by his successor Steven VanRoekel. Kundra left the administration in August to take a fellowship at Harvard and VanRoekel, previously managing director at the Federal Communications Commission, took over soon after.

Last week VanRoekelprovided insight into the updated consolidation plan, claiming the feds were taking "bolder steps" to increase their savings from shuttering facilities.

Once done, the feds expect their data consolidation efforts to save about $630 million through 2015, with more than $5 billion in savings over the longer term in savings on capital expenses. And by the end of 2012, more than half of the projected 962 data center closures, or 472, should be completed.

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