Army enterprise apps march into core data centers

Excess data centers are being unplugged as the Army reduces redundancy and eliminates unused apps.

The Army has been eliminating unused applications and migrating other enterprise applications and systems to designated core data centers as part of a Defense Department-wide initiative and the Army's consolidation of more than 1,100 data centers.  About 800 unused apps have been terminated to date, out of about 11,000.

Killing apps no longer in use and still on computers and servers saves on licensing fees and upgrades, Neal Shelley, chief of the Army Data Center Consolidation Division, told the Army News Service.  Fewer apps also increase economy of scale, since service providers typically discount on volume. Also, fewer apps mean less potential for malware, according to Shelley.

Consolidating apps into centralized data centers in the cloud – hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency or commercially – is also increasing efficiencies and performance.

For example, the migration of a distance-learning app from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., to the enterprise level  dramatically increased available bandwidth. Additionally, enterprise management is now making the distance-learning app more secure, robust and reliable, Shelley said.

But eliminating redundant applications is not as easy as getting rid of unused ones. Data associated with the app may have been collected for 20-plus years and must be migrated to the new app, Shelley said. And, the app owners and users must be consulted so everyone is on the same page during the transition.

And not all local apps will migrate to the enterprise level, he said. For example, special purpose apps used to power parts of the Army's industrial base, research labs or medical equipment will likely remain on local servers.

Once redundant, obsolete or inefficient apps are removed or replaced by enterprise versions, the cost savings can rapidly accrue. Just how much money can be saved is hard to calculate yet, Shelley said. 

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