Awareness of the need for data center consolidation has come a long way since 2010 when the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). However, while there is no lack of conversation on the issue, measurable results have been limited and the number of centers in operation has only increased.
The good news is that data center consolidation efforts have generated considerable savings over time – an estimated $2.8 billion from 2011 to 2015 according to recent GAO reports. Yet the same report stated that of the 10,584 data centers in operation, only 3,125 were closed in 2015 - revealing missed opportunities for greater savings. The benefits of consolidated, optimized data centers are tremendous: application effectiveness, programmatic control, security and data integrity, elasticity and scalability, and automation. All of these ensure agencies have a robust data center architecture that meets their current and future requirements.
Current directives like the recently released Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) support CIOs and agency leaders. The initiative requires agencies to not only report on their data consolidation efforts, but also optimize existing technology infrastructure and transition to more efficient options, such as cloud. The DCOI provides actionable guidance and places a freeze on new data centers. CIOs are now more empowered and driven to reduce government’s data center count to 1,000.
With leadership invested, it comes down to selecting the right technology. Agencies need infrastructure designed for optimized data centers. Network modernization and adoption of the New IP – an industry term for an innovative approach to networking that is software-enabled, user-centric and based on open standards – can better support consolidated environments. With New IP networks, agencies can support virtualization and exceed optimization goals dictated by the DCOI. Based on open standards, the New IP allows agencies to choose from a broad ecosystem of vendors to select the solutions that best fit their needs.
Today’s technologies can make a federal government operating on just 1,000 data centers a possibility. Now is the time to make it a reality. I encourage you to continue the conversation with me on Twitter at @AKRobbins2010 and LinkedIn.