Canada is about to show the U.S. just how far data center consolidation can go.

Canada’s government announced Thursday, Aug. 4, it will shut down more than 90 percent of

its 300 data centers, leaving the nation with fewer than 20 when the plan is complete.

In addition, Canada’s government will make the move away from 100 different e-mail platforms to one all-encompassing system. Furthermore, all resources associated with the delivery of e-mail, data center and network services are being transferred from 44 departments and agencies to a new entity called Shared Services Canada.

Canadian officials said the moves should make the government’s IT services and delivery more secure and reliable. They said the plan will help save taxpayer dollars and balance the Canadian budget.

“Canadians work hard for their money and expect our Government to manage taxpayers dollars responsibly,” said Rona Ambrose, Canada’s minister of public works and government services, in a statement. “Shared Services Canada will have a mandate to streamline IT, save money, and end waste and duplication.”

There are a few examples in American of a centralized agency handling services that are shared by the whole organization. Ohio Shared Services, for example, is a government department that processes financial paperwork, document imaging, travel expense reimbursement, and vendor maintenance and management on behalf of individual state agencies. State officials have said the new arrangement has saved the state millions of dollars so far.

Shared Services Canada will focus on IT management and modernization. The entity will oversee and manage data center, e-mail and network for the entire government. 

“The top priority of our government is ensuring that our economy remains strong while we continue on our plan to return to balanced budgets,” said Tony Clement, president of Canada’s treasury board and minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. “This is why we are squarely focused on finding savings for taxpayers and implementing the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.”

Ambrose will be responsible for Shared Services Canada, which will be part of the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) portfolio.

Canada’s ambitious goal of slashing more than 90 percent of its data centers came shortly after

U.S. officials said more than 800 government data centers will close by 2015, an effort that would reduce the nation’s count of data centers by roughly 40 percent.