Consolidating Federal Data Centers Could Take 10 Years - InformationWeek
Government // Mobile & Wireless
01:28 PM
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

Consolidating Federal Data Centers Could Take 10 Years

Analyst firm INPUT finds significant challenges to the government's ambitious plan to save money and increase efficiency and security through greater use of virtualization and cloud computing.

Analytics Gallery: 2010 Data Center Operational Trends Report
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
The federal government's ambitious plan to consolidate data centers as a cost-saving, security, and efficiency measure could take as long as 10 years to complete, according to a new report.

A report from government analysis firm INPUT that assessed progress on the Federal Data Center Consolidation (FDCC) initiative also found that there are some significant challenges to achieving the plan.

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled the FDCC in February as a way to stop what he has called the "madness" of federal data center growth over the past several years.

In June, the White House followed that up with a memo in which it put a moratorium on agencies opening any new data centers. The administration also instructed agencies to examine the properties they already have and develop plans to reduce their number by 2015.

Between fiscal years 1998 and 2009, federal data centers grew 154% -- from 432 to more than 1,100. Moreover, spending on IT infrastructure currently represents 29% of the federal IT budget.

While there is no set timeline to completing the FDCC, agencies were to submit their final consolidation plans to the Office of Management and Budget by Aug. 30 for approval by Dec. 31. These plans should be incorporated into agencies' fiscal year 2012 budgets.

The federal government aims to consolidate by decommissioning, centralizing, and consolidating data center sites, with greater use of virtualization and cloud computing key facets of the plan, according to INPUT's assessment of the FDCC.

The report also noted several challenges to achieving the goals of the FDCC using these methods. One is a lack of upfront funding for the initiative, which makes it difficult for agencies to make the necessary changes to achieve consolidation. Nearly two-thirds of those interviewed for the report cited lack of funding as a major obstacle, according to INPUT.

Further, existing federal technical environments are limiting choices for consolidation, according to the report. Typical federal agency IT environments are siloed and unable to communicate with other agency systems, resulting in environments where there are data centers exclusively to run one or a handful of applications. These systems will likely need to be completely redesigned, which is a costly and time-consuming endeavor, according to INPUT.

There are cultural and political issues hindering the progress as well. Federal agencies are hesitant to give up control of their IT environments, and employees worry about losing jobs with the reduction in data center real estate, according to the report.

Also, the timeline for submitting consolidation plans may end up restricting the development of solutions, according to INPUT. Though there is no timeline for completing the FDCC, having to submit final consolidation plans by Aug. 30 likely did not give agencies enough time to thoroughly assess data center resources and come up with an efficient or cost-effective way to consolidate them.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll