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Feds Raise Data Center Consolidation Goals

By 2015, 962 data centers will be closed, up from the original goal of 800.

by / October 6, 2011
Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget revealed new goals for federal data center consolidation today. By 2012, 472 data centers will be shuttered, a 27 percent increase over the 373 that was previously announced in July.

In addition, by 2015, 962 data centers will be closed, up from the original goal of 800, according to federal CIO Steven VanRoekel. He said the initial 500 sq. ft. mark that was used to identify potential data centers for consolidation has changed — even the smallest locations are now potential targets.

“I basically told the team when I came on board, that I wanted to scope it so everything was game,” VanRoekel said. “We should be looking for efficiencies from everything from wiring closets to these very large data centers across the government. As we drive the effort, consistent with the Vice President’s effort to cut waste, we have to look in every corner.”

VanRoekel said that he expects the 962 number to grow and with the new size criteria and scope, the total number of federal data centers is “coming in close to 2,800.”

The additional 162 data center closures by 2015 will further increase savings. Instead of $3 billion, VanRoekel now expects roughly $5 billion to be saved when the project concludes.

The federal CIO also unveiled that a new data center cost model was developed. Designed by data center initiative task force, which includes 24 different agency members, VanRoekel said the model will give agencies an “apples-to-apples” comparison with other agencies about whether their consolidation efforts are moving in the right direction.

He explained that when he took over as federal CIO — succeeding Vivek Kundra, who left the position for a fellowship at Harvard University in August — he saw a lot of inconsistency in how agencies were managing their closure planning and managing data center optimization, spurring the model’s development.

“They created together this tool to basically go in at a very granular level and drive comparisons across the way that people will have managed and closed, and budget for data center optimization and closures,” Van Roekel said.

“It’s down to the level of looking at when leases end when you close a data center and reclaim some real estate, power usage and different things like that,” he added.

OMB will also publish a “roll-up report” on the status of federal agency data center consolidations on Oct. 7. A comprehensive report with specific agency consolidation details will be released at the end of 2011.


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Brian Heaton

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology magazine from 2011 to mid-2015.

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