Administration plans to shutter 137 data centers this year

Which agencies will see the most closures?

The Obama administration will shut 137 of the 2,094 federal data centers by the end of the year, in a move to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of government IT infrastructures.

The federal government has released details on the total number of data centers that will be shut down by the end of 2011, as a result of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, on CIO.gov.

The closures would affect 16 federal agencies, including the Defense and State departments, located across the U.S., according to the White House plan, reported Damian Paletta in the Wall Street Journal. Administration officials said that they didn't have an estimate of how many government and contractor jobs might be cut as a result, according to WSJ.


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The administration has already shut 39 of them, with 98 more to be closed by year's end.

The government hopes that stemming the growth of data centers will reduce energy use, spur IT cost decreases and improve security. To that end, government officials hope to shutter 800 federal data centers by 2015 in an effort to save $3 billion annually.

Data center consolidation is a huge undertaking that will take years for federal agencies to successfully complete. Time, budget and culture are road blocks that must be overcome if the government is going to reduce the 2,094 data centers spread across agencies, experts say.

“It is important to recognize that most data center consolidation projects encompass two phases,” Bob Otto, executive director of advisory services with Agilex Technologies, said in a GCN interview November 2010.

“During the initial period, agencies can achieve 'quick wins' by quickly closing and consolidating remote sites, smaller server farms and secondary data centers, which are often little more than multiple servers in a small facility,” Otto, a former CIO of the U.S. Postal Service, said. “The second phase is often more challenging as you consolidate, automate and modernize major facilities.”

Before the reductions began, the Pentagon had 772 data centers, far more than any other agency, according to the government. Of the total closures, 57 will be within the Defense Department, 18 in the Interior Department and 14 at NASA, WSJ reported.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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