Administration accelerates data center closings

The Obama administration intends to shut down 178 data centers in 2012, which would bring the total of closed centers to 373 by the end of the next year, senior officials said July 20.

Officials say they are ahead of schedule to shutter 800 data centers by 2015. The government has closed down 81 data centers so far and is working to close down 195 more centers this year.

“This represents substantial progress towards our goal,” Jeffrey Zients, chief performance officer and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, wrote on the OMB blog. Read his blog post.


Related story:

CIOs get to work on closing data centers


A data center is a facility for the storage and dissemination of data and information and housing computer systems.

The data centers being added to the shut down list are scattered across about 30 states. They range from a 195,000-square-foot facility in Alabama hosted by the Homeland Security Department to four operated by the Agriculture Department that are in the same zip code.

The Treasury Department is closing a nearly 13,000-square-foot data center in Lanham, Md., which hosts 250 servers and costs more than $400,000 a year for leasing and electricity. See a complete list of the affected centers.

“Duplication, waste, and inefficiency are never acceptable, but it is especially intolerable in these challenging budgetary times,” Zients said in a statement.

The White House increased the number of closings because officials have brought agencies together and to do more than "admire the problem," Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, said during a press conference.

"By bringing together all the agencies, there is this race to the top," he said. Agency officials became competitive in closing down their unneeded data centers. he said.

Since 1998, the number of federal data centers has risen from 432 to more than 2,000, which Zients said, has created unnecessary and redundant systems and applications. Meanwhile, the private sector was reducing its numbers of data centers.

Kundra said the consolidation will save tax money in real estate leasing, energy costs and infrastructure. At the same time, closing the centers will improve security of government data and let agencies leverage technology to improve services.

“What you’re seeing is cloud computing in action,” as the government consolidates the centers, Kundra said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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