Circuit

Blog archive

Digital oil: What is it?

Here are two new words to add to your IT lexicon: Digital Oil.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is using the phrase “digital oil” to describe the current state of information technology.

“What do you mean by that?” Alan Marcus, a senior director with the World Economic Forum USA, asked Kundra during a morning session at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III on April 7.

“What I mean by digital oil is the infrastructure is as important as oil is for our broader economy,” Kundra said. “I have spent a lot of time talking about how we’ve gone from 400 data centers [in 1998] to 2,094 – the number keeps fluctuating,” across the federal government, he said.

The average utilization of servers in that infrastructure is less than 26 percent, compared to 79 percent in the manufacturing sector. And that’s a big problem since forecasts predict over the next five years, “we’re going to create more digital content than we have created content since the beginning of civilization," Kundra said.

The National Archive of Records and Administration digitizes a billion pieces of paper a year, he said. "Think about all of the content being created through blogs and video as well as aggregated content generated through the smart grid and health IT."

The demand this places on computer power, sensors and storage is going to fundamentally change what Kundra calls "digital oil."

"Our current compute models are so inefficient, expensive and non-environmentally healthy in terms of energy utilization that we are going to have to fundamentally reengineer our operations to a more renewable infrastructure," he said. We’ll have to think about the impact this demand will have on the minerals used to power the society of the future, he said. 

Posted by Rutrell Yasin on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM


Featured

  • Management
    people standing on keyboard (Who is Danny/Shutterstock.com)

    OPM-GSA merger plan detailed in legislative proposal

    The White House is proposing legislation for a dramatic overhaul of human resources inside government and wants $50 million to execute the plan.

  • Cloud
    cloud applications (chanpipat/Shutterstock.com)

    GSA plans civilian DEOS counterpart

    GSA is developing a cloud email and enterprise services contract inspired by the single-source vehicle the Department of Defense devised for back-office software.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/Shutterstock.com)

    DOD looks to unify software spending for 2020

    Defense Department acquisition head, Ellen Lord, hopes to simplify software buying and improve business systems following the release of the Defense Innovation Board's final software acquisition study.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.