Data Consolidation Could Save Feds $14.6 Billion - InformationWeek
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Data Consolidation Could Save Feds $14.6 Billion

But MeriTalk survey also shows that only 33 percent of IT managers believe that the OMB's goal for cutting the number of federal data centers is achievable.

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Federal agencies could save as much as $14.6 billion over the next five years if they meet data-center consolidation goals, according to a new report.

Agencies believe they can achieve cost savings amounting to one-third of the $45.7 billion federal IT budget if they can reduce the number of federal data centers by 45%, from 2,094 to 1,152, according to a MeriTalk survey of 200 federal civilian IT managers conducted in September.

Whether they can, however, is another story. Only 33% of those surveyed believe they can attain the consolidation goals laid out by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the survey said.

While half of them said they have successfully consolidated some data centers, the survey showed that many agencies are behind on the OMB's schedule for consolidation.

In February, the OMB issued a Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (DCCI), which was followed by a White House memo putting a moratorium on agencies opening new data centers. In addition to cost savings, the Obama administration hopes to streamline IT operations and improve security by cutting data centers.

IT managers said they need more support and clear direction from the OMB to achieve their individual consolidation plans, according to the survey. The OMB had asked agencies to submit their final consolidation plans by Aug. 30, but less than one-third of those responding to the survey said their agencies met the deadline.

Federal IT managers also are seeking more guidance from the OMB on how to achieve their consolidation plans, according to the survey. This lack of direction is putting funding for consolidation in jeopardy. The Senate Appropriations Committee recently declined to approve additional funding for the project and even may reduce it due to lack of guidance regarding consolidation efforts.

The latest MeriTalk survey wouldn't be the first time federal IT managers have raised doubts about whether the agency-wide plan to consolidate data centers can be achieved.

According to the results of another MeriTalk survey released in June, 37% of federal IT executives surveyed said they're not sure if there will be data center reduction according to the OMB plan, with 86% citing the culture of government IT as the chief obstacle to it.

Among IT managers who said they had already consolidated data centers, pre-consolidation analysis, leadership support and adequate staffing were cited as keys to their success so far.

The full results of the survey, "Federal Data Center Addiction: The Road to Recovery," are available online.

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