DHS falls short on data-center consolidation, IG says

Inventory, floor plans and consolidation planning need improvement

The Homeland Security Department is falling short on consolidating its data centers, according to a new audit DHS' Office of Inspector General released today.

The department hasn't compiled a complete inventory of existing data centers and their associated hardware and software and doesn't have floor plans for the consolidated data centers to guide the integrations, states the new report from Frank Deffer, assistant IG for IT audits.

“Although DHS has made progress toward implementing its data-center consolidation initiative, DHS’ management of this initiative needs improvement,” Deffer wrote.


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The department’s CIO office has been working to consolidate data centers for several years and has established a Data Center Consolidation Division and two enterprise data centers. DHS has also awarded contracts for operating the enterprise centers and has migrated resources to the new facilities.

However, additional steps are needed, including a complete inventory of all data centers and associated systems, hardware and software, and a data-center floor plan, the report states.

In addition, Deffer said the department should update its strategic plan for data-center consolidation to include details on the process of decommissioning existing data centers. The plan should conform to consolidation initiatives from the Office of Management and Budget and incorporate lessons learned from other departments, he wrote.

Deffer said DHS should perform accurate inventories and review governmentwide efforts and industry best practices so it can develop a more comprehensive data-center consolidation plan.

DHS managers generally agreed with the recommendations but defended the department's current three-phase approach to creating an inventory of existing data centers. Deffer responded that although the three phases “begin to satisfy this recommendation,” there is a possibility the result will “significantly underestimate the inventory.” He said the recommendation would remain open until DHS provides further documentation.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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