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Feds To Close 178 Data Centers Next Year

Will kill off more data centers this year than originally planned, ahead of master schedule to shutter more than 800 facilities by 2015.

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The federal government plans to shut down 178 data centers in 30 states next year, part of its ongoing plan to close more than 800 data centers by 2015 in an effort to eliminate duplicative and wasteful IT spending.

Facilities range from a 195,000-square-foot Department of Homeland Security facility in Alabama to four Department of Agriculture data centers in the same region, each of which is less than 1,000 square feet, Federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB's Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients said in a White House blog post Wednesday.

Other facilities that will be closed include a 13,000 square foot Department of Treasury data center in Lanham, Md., that has 75 racks, 250 servers, and costs taxpayers more than $400,000 a year for leasing and electricity, he said.

A complete list of next year's planned data center closures is available on the federal Data.gov transparency site.

Agencies that will close multiple data centers include the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Defense, the last of which also will close at least 52 data centers by the end of 2011.

In May, U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra said the administration had closed 39 of the 137 data centers that the government at that time planned to eliminate in 2011. That number has been revised, however, according to Zients' post. The administration now plans to close 195 data centers this year, 81 of which already have been shuttered, he said.

"This represents substantial progress towards our goal of shutting down more than 800 data centers by 2015, a move that is expected to save taxpayers more than $3 billion," Zients said.

The federal consolidation effort is the result of a mushrooming of data centers in a 12-year period, from 432 in 1998 to more than 2,000 now. The effort has now been enfolded into President Obama's Campaign to Cut Waste, unveiled in June, which also includes a shutdown of 50% of existing federal websites, according to Zients.

The Campaign to Cut Waste is an effort by the administration to find as many areas of IT investment as possible where the government is unnecessarily spending taxpayer money and eliminate wasteful and duplicative spending.

Kundra and Deputy Senior Adviser Stephanie Cutter plan to disclose more details about ongoing federal data-center consolidation plans in a conference call Wednesday afternoon.

What industry can teach government about IT innovation and efficiency. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: Federal agencies have to shift from annual IT security assessments to continuous monitoring of their risks. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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