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Federal Agencies Lagging Behind In Data Center Plans 16

Nerval's Lobster writes with news that U.S. federal agencies are falling behind in their efforts to consolidate government data centers. Current plans call for a savings of $2.4 billion and the closing of over a thousand data centers, but 17 of 24 agencies still haven't provided details on their IT infrastructure and usage. A new report from the Government Accountability Office highlights the problems with this consolidation effort. "Data centers represent a significant cost to the federal government. Electricity to operate federal servers and data centers costs around $450 million a year, according to an EPA estimate cited in the report. Moreover, federal agencies reported limited reuse of data centers, along with server utilization rates dipping as low as 5 percent. The GAO report features agencies claiming several challenges on the way to data-center consolidation. These included accepting cultural change as part of the consolidation; funding the consolidation and identifying the resulting cost savings; operational challenges including procurement and resource constraints; and difficulties in planning a migration strategy."
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Federal Agencies Lagging Behind In Data Center Plans

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  • look at the united and continental merger to see what can happen in a consolidation.
    It's easy to see what to do on paper but not so much for really and when you have PHB's driving the show things can get messy

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:24PM (#40718371) Journal
    I'm willing to bet that the reason they haven't given the GAO the details of their data centers and usage is because they don't actually know. Each little department in the agency has their IT guys, but the agency has no central record of who is doing what with their IT budget. If they were smart, they immediately hired an outside consultant team to start taking inventory, but we're talking about unraveling thousands of computers and servers and untangling networks that have been in place for decades. Even with a dedicated project team, that could take months, and I don't think anyone would dedicate a project team to this task. Likely, it's one poor overwhelmed soul from the agency who is doing it with the dreaded feeling that he's eventually going to lose his own job once it's known he's redundant.
    • Is the solution then for the central bureaucracy to take responsibility for creating the inventories?

      Not only would a centralized effort circumvent much of the local office politics, the wingtips on the ground would have a better idea of where any given piece of equipment fits into the greater USG IT infrastructure.

  • why the hell do people think consolidation is advantageous at any scale? once you're past a few dozen racks (small), costs go pretty neatly linear.

    if the issue is poorly operated DCs not operating at capacity, why would a bigger DC be any different? 50% of 10x larger is still 50%...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Consolidation can mean reduction in resources which is what this study is looking at doing. If you can take an entire row of server cabinets, let's say 200 4U servers running at less than 5% utilization, and eliminate it into one ESX Hyper-V server your costs savings are going to become apparent very quickly. And this is not a stretch, 99% of my job is migrating services into a virtualized environment and decomming servers that are running but not actually being used to their full capacity.

    • There is an economy of scale with the cooling systems. You can also purchase electricity more cheaply in bulk. You only have to pay once for the security system. And resources not in use by one client can be used by another client.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell