State CIOs focus on data center consolidation

Reflecting a trend in other sectors, state chief information officers list consolidation of enterprise data centers as their most important task for the coming year, according to a study by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

The NASCIO study, which relied on responses from 29 states, found a strong trend toward 'states consolidating their computing assets into raised-floor, secured, centralized data center facilities.'

'Many states are utilizing remote, backup data center facilities for the purpose of backup and disaster recovery and business continuity,' the association said.
State governments define enterprise data center differently, the NASCIO study found. But the varying definitions do not cloud the universal nature of the consolidation trend, the association said.

A high percentage of the states responding to the survey, 86 percent, said they planned to launch server virtualization projects as new technology associated with their enterprise data center consolidation projects.

The respondents also favored open-source technology for use in 48 percent of their data center consolidation efforts, NASCIO found.

State agencies also named storage-area networks, consolidated storage purchases, service-oriented architecture, virtual servers provisioning and application hosting as other new technologies they planned to deploy in the consolidation projects.

NASCIO asked state IT leaders what obstacles or challenges they faced as a result of their data center consolidation projects. The most common responses were:

  • Workforce resistance to change: 90 percent.
  • Agencies' desire to remain autonomous: 86 percent.
  • Problems experienced in moving localized devices away from current customer base: 48 percent.
  • Backlash when consolidation didn't meet specific business needs: 21 percent.
  • Unexpectedly high costs: 17 percent.
  • Seeking exemptions from state statutory and regulatory requirements: 17 percent.
  • Seeking exemptions from federal statutory and regulatory requirements: 17 percent.

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