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U.S. government undertakes historic data center consolidation

The American government has announced that it plans to consolidate its data, currently spread across hundreds of data centers around the world, into less than 50 facilities located in the United States.

A report by Data Center Knowledge outlines the initial plans being made as all sectors of the American government prepare to audit their IT assets in preparation for the largest data center consolidation effort ever undertaken. With data now located in more than 1,100 facilities, the combined U.S. aims to drastically reduce its energy needs by raising efficiency standards for all of the governmental IT requirements of the country of more than 300 million people.

The first stage of the massive move will see every branch of government audit their IT assets and report them to federal CIO Vivek Kundra by April 30, 2010, according to the report outlined by Kundra himself in an internal memo sent out this past Friday. Initial planning to begin consolidation will be completed by June 30, 2010 with all agencies involved having until December 31, 2010 to edit, finalize and approve the complete and comprehensive plan. Implementation of all recommended courses of action, including the moving of data to the new facilities, will begin in 20100.

“This growth in redundant infrastructure investments is costly, inefficient and unsustainable and has a significant impact on energy consumption. In 2006 Federal servers and data centers consumed 6 billion kwH of electricity, and without a fundamental shift in how we deploy technology it could reach 12 billion kwH by 2012.” – Vivek Kundra, federal CIO

The memo does not exaggerate: the data storage needs of the United States government has grown almost alarmingly in the past few years, skyrocketing the number of data centers in use from a mere 432 in 1999 to the more than 1,100 currently in use today.

Besides drastically reducing the amount of electricity needed to store and maintain sensitive government data, the plan hopes for additional economic benefits in the form of extended use of green IT infrastructure and the implementation of more efficient hardware and software at the server level. The move will also allow for the deployment of advanced security measures, something the American government has been clamoring for in recent months. A modest boom is also expected for companies in the energy efficiency sector as those putting the plan into action look to seasoned professionals for both guidance and hardware.

Vivek Kundra’s memo comes only one month after the government of the United Kingdom revealed that it would reduce it public sector data needs by consolidating its data storage into 10 to 12 data centers.

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One comment for “U.S. government undertakes historic data center consolidation”

  1. Well I had some grand ambitions to actually purchase and own many servers about two years back, yet I apparently was not enough of a visionary to have predicted Cloud Computing even back then.

    Or perhaps I was except I simply would have never thought of calling it that! Although I did wisely buy a great domain with the Cloud name for a different reason.

    The Cloud is an innovation that is here to stay. Redundancy is the perhaps the safest form of both back up and speed (just ask Google) so the remaining question for the Cloud to address, is how to conserve its energy consumption and reduce it carbon footprint especially with the advent and dominance of RAID.

    Posted by Stephen Sanders | Friday, March 25, 2011, 6:38 am

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