Data centers

Data center closures continue apace -- or do they?

data center

When the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative in 2010, it aimed to close about 1,200, or 40 percent, of the estimated 3,133 data centers by 2015.

By October 2013, 640 centers had been closed and a further 470 closures were scheduled to happen by September 2014. That total would have put OMB within striking distance of its original target.

Yet OMB's goals for FDCCI, which included saving $3 billion to $5 billion by 2015, were based on a data center count that was drastically underreported until July 2013, when congressional testimony and a report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that agencies had upwards of 7,000 data centers.

At the time, an OMB spokeswoman attributed the higher total to FDCCI's integration into another OMB-led initiative, PortfolioStat, which resulted in a more "comprehensive analysis of resources used [and] efficiencies realized, and also helps us better protect our assets." She added that OMB expanded its definition of a data center to include smaller centers of "all shapes and sizes."

Under PortfolioStat, agencies are categorizing their data centers into core and non-core and examining how optimizing those assets will improve service, the spokeswoman told FCW in July.

Yet it remains unclear whether OMB has revamped its plans now that it knows the government has a lot more data centers ripe for consolidation or optimization. OMB did not respond to several requests for comment.

Also unclear is how much money data center closures have saved. At the end of fiscal 2013, FDCCI had documented only about $63 million in savings, and only one agency -- the Defense Department -- had projected its savings through fiscal 2014. DOD officials said they expect to save approximately $575 million.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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