VanRoekel quickens pace on data center closures

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel has quickened the pace on the governments data center consolidation efforts, and simultaneously broadened the field.

Agencies are now to look at almost any facility that includes servers, even wiring closets of as little as 100 square feet, as a candidate for consolidation and closure, he said in a conference call. Previously, the assessment of data centers focused on facilities of 500 square feet and larger.

VanRoekel said the government now hopes to shutter 472 facilities by year’s end and 962 by 2015. Previously, the Office of Management Budget set goals of shuttering 373 data centers by the end of 2011 and 800 by 2015, with a goal of saving $3 billion annually. Agencies published their latest plans for consolidation on CIO.gov on Oct. 7.


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The government has closed 81 data centers to date and now envisions saving $630 million in the near term with the current consolidation plans and $5 billion savings in the years beyond 2015, VanRoekel said.

Agencies will post data center consolidation plans online on Oct. 7. A more comprehensive agency-to-agency breakdown will be available at the end of the year, VanRoekel said.

OMB has also launched a new data center cost model “to drive an apples-to-apples comparison on the way agencies budget and drive behavior on closing data centers,” VanRoekel said. The cost model will give OMB and CIOs across agencies the tools to compare with other agencies whether they are doing the right things to close data centers.

When VanRoekel became federal CIO, he saw a lot of inconsistencies in both the way agencies were managing their closure planning and data center optimization. Working with the Data Center Consolidation Initiative Task Force, which has 24 agency members, a tool was created that can more effectively help agencies manage and budget for data center optimization and closures, VanRoekel said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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Reader comments

Tue, Oct 11, 2011 CheckLogic DC

yeah... we consolidated... moved our equipment from our leased space (which we still have to pay for) to another agency that charges us more than what we paid at the previous place... consolidation = yes; savings = NO

Tue, Oct 11, 2011

Other than maybe a little electricity, how does closing a data center in a govt-owned building save the taxpayers a dime? (Note I said taxpayers, not agency budgets. The money paid from one agency to another for 'rent' never really existed.) What is the payback period for these forklift moves or virtualization projects, especially for legacy systems with less than 5 years expected remaining lifespan? I'm strongly in favor of consolidated data centers, but it has to be done sensibly. From what I have seen of the current project so far (from down on the bottom), this is a stunt so they can say they 'did something', and the costs are irrelevant.

Tue, Oct 11, 2011 DonC BWI

I am amazed at how closing data centers will make us more efficient. It seems akin to closing your shooting your business foot off. How can agencies survive without data centers? CIO UR expecting too much from PCs. Maybe if you had worked at a federal data center you would see that. Consoladate yes, close no. Stupid idea.

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