Cure against Data Center sprawl: consolidation and cloud computing.

Last year Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said at a policy forum that in the past decade, the number of data centers operated by the U.S. government has skyrocketed from 432 to more than 1,200. Kundra stated that “Now, when you think about these data centers, one of the most troubling aspects about the data centers is that in a lot of these cases, we’re finding that server utilization is actually around seven percent, that’s unacceptable when you think about all the resources that we’ve invested. And the other thing we’re finding is that in terms of energy consumption, that the trajectory, it’s a one-way street where we continue to consume more and more energy, and these data centers tend to be energy hogs, and we need to find a fundamentally different strategy as we think about bending this curve as far as data center growth is concerned.”

A Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative followed. In December 2010, the Federal CIO made data center consolidation a key tenet of the comprehensive 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management.  These reforms must change the status quo by:

• Using modular approach, drive average size and duration down and success rates up on nearly $50 billion of IT program spend

• Improve yield on $24 billion in IT infrastructure spending and shift spending from redundant, underutilized infrastructure to mission-priority programs

• Utilizing “Cloud First” approach, provision solutions on demand at up to 50% lower per unit cost

Under this plan, agencies will close at least 800 data centers by 2015, a reduction of approximately 40%. As part of this consolidation initiative, 137 data centers will be closed by the end of 2011.

Now the first results are presented (View the Presentation). From 137 data centers that must be closed this year, already 39 are closed.

Data Center Sprawl and consolidation

There is an interactive map  available to track the data center consolidation progress to date.

Agencies were also required to identify at least three services to move to the cloud. A full list can be downloaded here. Some examples:

Email/Collaboration:  15 agencies identified approximately 950,000 mailboxes and over 100 email systems that will move to the cloud

Infrastructure: DOJ is consolidating storage solutions across 250 locations for 18,000 U.S. Attorneys to a single cloud platform

Workflow:  USDA is consolidating over 20 document and correspondence systems into a single agency-wide cloud solution

Back Office: Hundreds of human resource and financial management systems will be consolidated in the cloud

All very impressive figures on cost reduction, time to deliver and energy savings, which government will follow which such an ambitious program?

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