FDCCI launches governmentwide data center marketplace

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The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative has launched a governmentwide marketplace for excess agency data center capacity, said Zach Baldwin, FDCCI project manager during an Aug. 28 webinar.

Right now the marketplace is limited to rack space, but the intention is for agencies in the future to offer up excess virtualized server capacity through a metered service, Baldwin said. FierceGovernmentIT produced the webinar, which had a sponsor in Oceanport, N.J.-based CommVault.

However, uncertainties surrounding metering and service level agreement enforcement and typical difficulties in making interagency payments may have to be resolved before the marketplace can grow.

"Right now there's very little incentive for agencies to take on outside customers," Baldwin acknowledged. The problem of how to penalize a provider that doesn't meet the performance specifications called for by an SLA is difficult when both customer and provider are federal agencies, he said--especially when under federal regulations, the agency provider can't make a profit.

That lack of an enforceable SLA has caused some Defense Department components to fear moving applications into the Defense Information Systems Agency cloud, noted webinar speaker Kevin Carroll, president of Maryland-based The Kevin Carroll Group and head of the Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems from June 1999 to October 2007.

"The SLAs weren't honored and the prices increased. There wasn't the same discipline that you have with the contractor, who you could punish or move," Carroll said. It's politically difficult to move a service once a component has taken on DISA as a provider, Carroll noted.

"The ability to get quality attention to your problems, which a contractor will usually give you better than a government agency--for the most part--that whole dynamic has to be changed" in order for large intragovernment marketplaces to occur, Carroll said.

Austerity will nonetheless drive agencies to look for hosted solutions, Carroll added.

Baldwin said the FDCCI doesn't expect agency providers to be created anew, but rather to come from existing capacity. "I can't ask an agency that wants to share infrastructure with another agency to hire a 10-person business line to collect the money, manage the SLAs, etc." he said.

For more:
- go to the webinar

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