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12/21/2011
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Feds Set Tougher Data Center Consolidation Goals

Federal agencies are ahead of schedule in their data center consolidation plans, so the White House now plans to close even more data centers.

Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progres
Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Federal agencies are on track to close 1,080 data centers by the end of 2015, 280 more than the 800 data centers the Obama administration initially proposed to shutter under the Federal Data Center Consolidation plan, federal CIO Steven VanRoekel announced Tuesday, and the government is upping the ante.

"After a year of agencies working hard to develop plans and targets, we are not only on track--but exceeding that goal," VanRoekel wrote in a blog post. "Rather than put up our feet and call it a success that we're on track to close 25% more data centers than our goal, we've decided to move the goalposts and shoot even higher."

In moving the goalposts, as VanRoekel announced earlier in the fall, the data center consolidation initiative has expanded beyond just data centers with 500 square feet or more to now include smaller server rooms as well. That means that more clusters of computers are now considered to be data centers, and as a result, the administration increased its baseline estimate of the number of federal data centers by more than 1,000 to the new number of 3,133.

In October, when VanRoekel first announced the plans to increase the scope of the data center consolidation initiative, InformationWeek reported that the government planned to close nearly 1,000 data centers through 2015, so agencies continue to be ahead of schedule.

In comparison with the new baseline, however, the number of planned data center closures is only about 33% of all data centers. However, VanRoekel said that the government's goal will be to close 40% of data centers going forward, which would make the new goal to close at least 1,253 data centers across government, 153 more than are currently planned.

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

The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative has been one of the Obama administration's trademark tech efforts thus far, along with cloud computing, cybersecurity reform, and open government. It's being overseen by an inter-agency task force headed up by agency CIOs, and agencies just recently released comprehensive data center consolidation plans on their websites detailing how many data centers they plan to close and how they plan to do so.

In a speech last week, VanRoekel said that data center consolidation would continue to be a priority in 2012. This new announcement ensures that the issue remains on the front burner.

How 10 federal agencies are tapping the power of cloud computing--without compromising security. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek Government supplement: To judge the success of the OMB's IT reform efforts, we need concrete numbers on cost savings and returns. Download our Cloud In Action issue of InformationWeek Government now. (Free registration required.)

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