Rethinking Data Center Consolidation at Federal Agencies

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Federal Government 3D Modern Interior of Server Roomhas been shifting from the ingrained idea of data center consolidation to data center optimization in an effort to continue to realize efficiencies and reduce costs. When OMB changed the definition of what constituted a data center a few years ago, the number of data centers to be closed dramatically increased from around 1,200 of 3,100 total, to over 7,000 total, making data center closure goals impossible to reach. As a result, we’ve seen a shift from a policy initially emphasizing closures to one that’s demanding increased efficiency out of existing facilities. These consolidation and optimization efforts are part of the government’s “cloud first” approach to reduce IT infrastructure through virtualization of hardware and software and hosting data in private or public clouds.

While the Federal Government still views reducing the data center footprint through closures as a high priority, there has been no clear picture of the efficiencies that have been realized so far. Many agencies are unable to report on the number of centers closed or the amount of money saved and can only hazard a guess because there has been no consistent framework for reporting or oversight of planning and reporting.

The key takeaway from all of this is that before savings can be realized there is a good deal of upfront investment in data center consolidation and optimization. For federal agencies, however, there needs to be better reporting tools and means of measuring ROI – particularly as it relates to application rationalization, virtualization, and data center optimization.

If you’d like to hear more on what opportunities exist in optimizing the data center, join us on November 20th at the Government IT Sales Summit. In our session “Optimizing the Data Center,” you’ll understand methods government is currently using to pursue Data Center Optimization, and areas where COTS vendors can help.

Also, during the 10th Annual Budget Briefings at the Summit, the Market Intelligence team will identify and explain targeted sales opportunities for COTS manufacturers and solution providers and will address how to navigate the complex waters of DOD. Topics will include: defense and civilian IT budgets, organizational landscapes, major acquisition drivers, and FY15 programs.

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