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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Reader comments

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 William

The article suggests that "Meanwhile, the private sector was reducing its numbers of data centers." and attributes this to the Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients? If the private sector is reducing their number of data center's it will come as some surprise to companies like Apple which just built a one billion dollar ($1,000,000,000) data center in North Carolina. And to Google? Similar expansion of data centers world wide has been reported in the last year.

Fri, Jul 29, 2011

If the 'data center' is space rented from another federal agency, exactly where is the savings to the taxpayer? Landlord still has to keep the power, water, and fire protection up and running.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011

I can't wait for the bean counters to try and shutdown my computer room - er, excuse me, "data center". Telling the science teams to access their multi-terabyte data sets over the internet to a "cloud" will be real fun.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011

I listened to one of these out-sourced cloud presentations. Reminds me of the 1990's presentations from contractors for an out-sourced data center. Once you add in the add-ins that you need for availablity, integrity and security, I don't see anyone saving money. Just moving it from the federal space to the contractor arena with less over-sight. But I guess if you remove half the FISMA security controls and don't tell anyone, you would save money. Then when the latest security exploits hit you will see an article saying you must have this new security app to protect you. The contractor will have a freshly inked contract for you to sign for another 10 million, even though it was one of the security controls that was supposed to be in the system in the first place. In the 1980's we called them belt-way bandits. Now, I think this is nothing more crony capitalism in-disguise another political pay-off.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 Joe

Why are the DOD data center locations and addresses not shown. WEhat are they afraid of?

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