Defense

What's slowing down DOD's data center consolidation?

Shutterstock image: black data center with white floors and ceiling. 

The slow pace of consolidating Defense Department data centers was one of the primary sources of frustration for former DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen. But acting CIO John Zangardi is taking a more glass-half-full approach.

"There are a lot of barriers -- they are not unreasonable," Zangardi said at the AFCEA Army IT day. "Some of the barriers are related to the age of the data that they are storing, the age of the systems and modifying that and bringing it over."

Zangardi said that the DOD is meeting program targets for consolidation, despite the numerous barriers -- modernization being one of the bigger ones. "That drives cost, that drives schedule," he said.

In addition to sorting through old data and systems that require modernization in order to move the data, getting the DOD to move to the cloud is also a barrier.

"We have met with several vendors over the last couple of months, and I've tasked my team to look at the policy for the cloud. And right now, industry and some folks view [Cloud Access Point] as a bottleneck," he said.

"Can CAP be provided as a service?" he asked. "Keep in mind that even if you're level 4 or level 5 certified, most vendors out there still have a back door to the internet. We have to make sure that our data is protected from that back door to the internet. That was the purpose of the CAP in the simplest terms."

Zangardi said that one option is for DOD to set a standard for vendors to build to so they provide "the same data invisibility as the current CAP."

Other barriers to data center consolidation include reassigning the workforce. "Who becomes interested in the movement of that workforce? That's an issue," he said.

Zangardi told FCW that military workers at data centers are relatively easy to move through new orders.

"Civilians are a little bit more challenging because every civilian has a particular position description so you have to find a way to move them into a different occupation," he said. "It's a doable thing, but repurposing takes a little longer there."

In addition, as he learned during his time working on data center consolidation for the Navy, Zangardi said there is often resistance because people want their servers close by. "They like to have their control of whatever it is they have."

The DOD's data center consolidation team is in the process of compiling the data and developing recommendations from its site visit to San Antonio. Once that is done, the team will likely visit a center in Hawaii to assess consolidation prospects there.

Although some officials have worried about possible pushback from members of Congress who do not want to see data centers close in their districts and jobs leave, Zangardi said the CIO’s office has not seen any such resistance.

"We might, but I think folks realize that to get to savings and do what industry is doing, we have to move forward with consolidation," he said.

About the Author

Sean Carberry is a former FCW staff writer who focused on defense, cybersecurity and intelligence.


Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

  • What's next for agency cyber efforts?

    Ninety days after the Trump administration's executive order, FCW sat down with agency cyber leaders to discuss what’s changing.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group