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Government United States IT Hardware

US Government Begins Largest IT Consolidation in History 283

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wtb-bofh dept.
miller60 writes "Saying 1,100 data centers is too many, the federal government has begun what looms as the largest IT consolidation in history. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has directed federal agencies to inventory their assets by April 30 and prepare a plan to reduce the number of servers and data centers, with a focus on slashing energy costs (full memo). Kundra says some applications may be shifted to cloud computing platforms customized for government use."
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US Government Begins Largest IT Consolidation in History

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  • by Zarf (5735) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:57PM (#31318050) Journal

    I predict a rash of job openings that you can get hired for provided you can spell "Cloud Computing"

  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maugle (1369813) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:00PM (#31318108)
    This being a government IT project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.
  • IT as a commodity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:01PM (#31318134) Homepage
    Finally, IT is on its way to being considered a commodity, as it should. There's no reason for every organization to maintain their own IT infrastructure any more than there's reason for every organization to maintain their own electricity generation and distribution. Of course, the hordes of IT people won't be happy, as the number of It jobs will continue to fall precipitously, but such is life. Because everybody has access to relatively significant computing power, society as a whole gets to reap the rewards, as opposed to 20 years ago, when only the largest organizations had the money and the manpower to maintain an IT network of any kind.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blade (1720) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:01PM (#31318154) Homepage

    This being an IT project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:08PM (#31318276) Journal
    And if you like the way your bank is not liable for identity theft, you'll just love the upcoming government data-filled Cloud!
  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:08PM (#31318280)
    I'm glad I don't work where-ever it is that you do...
  • by joocemann (1273720) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:18PM (#31318416)

    Didn't read the article, but my experience with government entities is that they receive a specific value of funding each year to spend on gear, training, energy costs, etc.

    The nature of the funding goes that if you don't use all of it this year, you get a reduced amount next year. Now this may seem logical -- it may seem like a policy that governs spending. Instead what it is is a policy that drives UNNECESSARY SPENDING.

    The places I have been were frugal but appropriate in their spending throughout the year. As the funding for the year would approach a close (in October), all-of-a-sudden the leadership would start spending money like crazy because they had a large surplus. Money would be spent on things that were not actually necessary; if they were necessary, why not get them at any other time during the year?

    In several cases, seeing this strange frenzy of spending I would ask the leadership what was going on. They explained the 'use it or lose it' policy and that in order to maintain the funding they got this year, for next year, they *must* spend it all. I was in conflict because I was taught integrity/honesty and there is no integrity in spending up dads helpful money on worthless junk so as to appear that you still have 'need'.
    ------

    The reason I bring this up is because I am curious if the units that will save money via IT consolidation will actually save us money or if they will be (by obvious standing procedure) driven to spend it in pointless/needless ways.

    Discuss? Anyone else experience this?

  • by maxume (22995) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:30PM (#31318640)

    Stop calling it identity theft.

    It as "Banks refusing to take action to prevent fraud".

  • Re:Vivek (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:47PM (#31318898) Homepage Journal

    I think Vivek wants to make himself look useful after being exposed as a fraud by John C. Dvorak. http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/ [dvorak.org]

    So who will make Dvorak look useful after exposing himself as a fraud? [youtube.com]

  • by rainmayun (842754) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:52PM (#31318964)
    You have to consider the personal incentives for managers with budget authority. If you manage a shrinking department, there's no rewards for spending less money. Your prestige and responsibility shrink, and your career path dwindles. For better or for worse, all of the incentives for budget managers are towards bigger and bigger spending allocations.
  • by cromar (1103585) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:52PM (#31318976)
    You are wrong my friend, very wrong. For example, Missourians have plenty of different pronunciations when compared to the North East, the South, California, the other Midwestern states, etc. Here in Missouri, many people say "nookyuler" 9or whoever you want to phoneticize it). We also have pronunciations such as "Da-ad" for "dad," "Missour-uh," and we drop are G's as often as the East and West Coasters use the term "fly-over states." (Another example of elitist BS.) There ain't nothin' wrong with th' way we speak.

    I'm not trying to say GW was an intelligent person. (Are any politicians very bright? You'd have to do a lot to convince me.) I'm saying he wasn't an idiot because of his accent. I hate elitist crap like that. And frankly, it is sad you can't see the inherent prejudice and ignorance in statements such as the one we are discussing. It upsets me, but I get some satisfaction when I see arrogant people get intellectually sucker-punched when they underestimate "us poor country folk" and end up showing who is the real idiot. I'm not directing that at you, I'm sure it's just an honest mistake on your part, but again, you have an ill-conceived notion that has no basis in reality.

    http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/missouri/missouri.htm [ku.edu]
  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday March 01, 2010 @01:54PM (#31319000)

    If you think this is going to reduce IT expenditure requirements, you have barely worked a minute in IT. When you outsource, you are simply paying someone else to do your job, plus profit, plus a gaggle of negotiators in middle management collecting their kickbacks, plus downtime costs because your business is less important to them than your business is to you (if you have enterprise e-mail and it has been down more than, say, GMail, you have done something very wrong)...

    I've worked in IT for... a few years. And I agree with the GP.

    See, the thing is that while huge organisations will continue to require significant IT infrastructure (either managed inhouse or managed by an outside firm), huge organisations do not provide the majority of jobs in this world. The great majority of jobs are provided by SMBs. The really small SMBs have been outsourcing their IT for years - though "outsourcing their IT" probably translates to "get Dave's son to do it, he knows about computers".

    Slightly larger SMBs have been outsourcing their IT to some little company who thought they could earn easy money doing installation and support. Look in the yellow pages, you'll find hundreds of little companies offering services like this. Few of these little outsourcing companies are making serious money - there's simply too much competition in the market.

    Larger still SMBs (think medium rather than small, 40-200 employees) may have historically had a full-time IT person. But today there are dozens of companies offering outsourced Exchange, or you can sign up for Google for Domains and the price is so cheap that there is no way a single full-time IT person (even if you ignore their salary) can compete economically - never mind offering four or five nines uptime and spam filtering which doesn't leave people crying. Meanwhile, the cost of a single desktop PC is now so low that it's cheaper to have a spares cupboard containing enough spare PCs to re-equip an entire team at a moment's notice than it is to keep someone on staff to maintain them. Sure, they won't be particularly elegantly managed (there may not be a domain, antivirus may be totally forgotten about, they certainly won't have a standardised build) but let's be honest here - how many non-techies ever display any sign of caring about any of that? And business-specific niche software is frequently sold with a support contract anyway.

    Seriously - while anyone who takes careers advice from a stranger on /. probably needs their brains looking at, I'd say if you want steady employment with minimal risk of finding that not only are you redundant from your current post, supply and demand has made you worth considerably less since you last were jobhunting - get yourself a job in the public sector or get the hell out of IT.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:02PM (#31319090) Homepage Journal

    40, 50, or 60 years ago, there were indeed pronounced accents in the United States. Sometimes, crossing a state line meant everyone sounded quite different. Today? Come on - damned near no one speaks with a pronounced accent. Just a bit of a drawl here, some slurring there - nothing that accounts for nuke-you-lar physics.

    I always liked this song - especially the line, "Learned to talk like the man on the six o'clock news" at about 2:40

    When I was in junior high school, a teacher from out of state told us, "No matter how far from home you go, people will know that you're from Western Pennsylvania as soon as you open your mouth, and they'll dismiss you as an ignorant hillbilly." Like the song says, I learned to talk like the guy on the news, and I simply don't use those three terms the teacher was telling us about.

    Bottom line? Ignorant is as ignorant does.

  • by tsm_sf (545316) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:15PM (#31319268) Journal
    Few of these little outsourcing companies are making serious money - there's simply too much competition in the market.

    Little nit to pick with that... From my perspective it seems like the competent folks quickly reach carrying capacity and simply choose not to expand their operation. I don't know what you mean by "serious money", but having a steady roster of clients who are willing to pay a slight premium for your services doesn't look like a bad way to conduct business.

    There may be a lot of competition, there certainly are tons of very intelligent people on the job market, but it seems like there aren't too many people who are both competent and professional.
  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:19PM (#31319344) Homepage Journal

    While we're in irony mode, yup, that's why we have the best health care system in the world, we have the best train infrastructure in the world, and why our scientific and cultural literacy is top-notch!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:21PM (#31319370)

    they will have a lean, optimized, efficient operation.

    I'm sure that it'll be as lean and efficient as most of the companies where I've worked. While those 'darn government bureaucrats' take a lot of heat for like every one who runs for office, incumbent or not. However, personally, I've seen plenty of waste, fraud and abuse in the private sector to know that those issues are just examples of human nature run amok in large organizations.

    Of course with government, special problems exist, in particular voters and politicians who instead of trying to improve government seem more willing to destroy it and 'start fresh'. Of course that that does is empower the status quo. Practical people who talk of incremental change and steady leadership are downed out by radicals who demand 'nothing', or 'everything'.

  • by cromar (1103585) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:24PM (#31319426)
    So superficially changing the way you act is not ignorant, because people will have bigoted notions about you? "Ignorant is as ignorant does" is a true statement, but it shows your own prejudice to assume that speaking with a regional dialect is "as ignorant does." Shame on you! Show some pride in your origins!
  • Nixon. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:38PM (#31319670)

    Nixon did immeasurable harm; we are still feeling the damage today. HMOs, bad food, family farms dying, rise of GM food; and going off the gold standard to the oil dollar standard; putting us at the mercy of OPEC... Starting of trade with China for the purposes that came to fruition later; don't think for a second that wasn't the intention. it was.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:42PM (#31319730) Homepage

    Pride in your origins ? You were born. Whoop-tee-doo! One person's birth doesn't make an arbitrary geopolitical territory automagically awesomer than the one next to it.

    If we're going to take the gloves off, I'll posit that the entirety of "American English" is ignorant, as it is an inferior, jocular, slurred dialect that only loosely resembles English syntax. It is to English what Afrikaans is to Dutch.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:45PM (#31319778) Journal
    Wow. I definitely can't think of any potential downsides to putting a military entity, with a strong history of not always sticking to its legal role of foreign intelligence gathering, in charge of all IT for our ostensibly civilian government...

    Because IT is a pretty damn banal subject, your proposal doesn't elicit the visceral distaste that "Hey, we should let the army take over policing. The army has 1) mad combat skillz 2) massive firepower and 3) the security chops to actually keep the streets safe."; but it is basically in the same class.
  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:10PM (#31320156)

    Once upon a time, there was an expectation that the person holding the highest office in the land would conduct themselves in a concise, careful, and wise manner

    When? I'm interested if you can rectify your statement with the Andrew Jackson presidency. (also the antebellum presidents were, without exception, hacks, most of the reconstruction presidents were corrupt, then you've got the racist Woodrow Wilson, the oblivious Herbert Hoover, and more recently tricky Dick and our good friend W.)

    We've been lucky, as a country to get good presidents when we need them (Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, and JFK) but trite populism has always played well in politics - though Sarah Palin may yet prove to be a new low.

  • by gtall (79522) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:29PM (#31320434)

    There is no free market, go bitch slap some sense into Ron Paul. Free market in software, hah? Explain MS, please. Free market in drugs? No way are we going to let the drug companies put any magic elixir on the market without adequate FDA approval. Want to put a new vehicle on the road that rolls over at the first gust of wind? Nope. The market is not free and cannot be free if we value survival. Put Paul in your pipe and smoke him if you like, but you are just pissing in the wind.

  • Re:Prediction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wintercolby (1117427) <winter.colby@gmail. c o m> on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:38PM (#31320574)

    This is why 401K contributions are declining and insurance premiums are rising . . .

    fixed that for me.

  • by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff.gindulis@net> on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:51PM (#31320736)

    The failures of Health Care, Train infrastructure, and Scientific literacy are _arguably_ the fault of Government INTERVENTION and not the free market.

    I'm not claiming that the free market is a perfect solution but I am saying that many of the problems in these three examples can be traced DIRECTLY to intervention by the Federal Government.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday March 01, 2010 @04:23PM (#31321298) Journal

    Part of a free market means that those industries that best suit the needs of their customers will succeed. Trains, while they might satisfy some personal desire of yours, are not a popular choice of personal transportation in this country. Since no one uses them or cares about them, they fall apart. It's really not that difficult a concept to understand, one wonders why you marvel at it.

    Let's subsidize them at the same rate we subsidize car travel and see how they fare. Let the government pay for all the bridges, track, and maintenance of the track just like it works for cars. While we're at it, let's make sure we make people pay the environmental costs of operating their cars, in cash. Mass transit and auto transport are not on equal footing -- we subsidize road transport with billions (trillions?) in spending.

    As for our health care system, as long as foreign politicians come here for their operations we can safely that, yes, we do have the best health care system in the world.

    Ah yes, let's consider the well-being of our health-care system by only looking at the care the wealthy and connected get. Because obviously if people can't afford healthcare, they don't deserve it.

    Either you're uninformed or willfully ignorant wrt mass transit, and either you're clueless or an asshole (imo) wrt healthcare.

    Take your blinders off.

  • Re:Nixon. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday March 01, 2010 @08:12PM (#31324546) Homepage

    family farms dying

    Please. Family farms started dying around the end of the 19th century, when mechanization started to make operating a farm a business rather than a family pastime. Various forms of farm subsidies managed to stave off the inevitable decline of "pa and his sons working the farm" for quite some time, but by the 70's, the ride was just plain fucking over. Seriously, in this day of GPS guided multi-hundred-thousand dollar combine harvesters, there simply ain't no efficient way to operate a "family farm". The reason we have all the agri-business corps running giant farms is that technology has allowed tremendous economies of scale. There are a number of families that still manage to run small businesses based on farming, but that's because they run them as businesses. Most of them don't even live on the land they farm anymore, because there's no advantage to living on site when all you are is a manager and your kids don't work on the farm. The quaint notion of a man making a living hitching a plow to an ox while his wife sows behind him is ancient history.

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