VanRoekel: Close to 2,800 data centers now eligible for closure

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Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly said that, given the increased scope of data center consolidation efforts, OMBs increased goal was to shutter 2,800 data centers. In fact, OMB said that the baseline of eligible data centers is now around 2,800. We have changed the headline and the reference within the article and regret the error.

The Office of Management and Budget expects 472 data centers to close across the federal government by the end of 2012--almost 100 more data centers than its July 2011 prediction of 373 data center closures by the end of 2012.

OMB has also revised the definition of "data center" to include anything from "wiring closets" to facilities 500-square feet large and more, said Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said during an Oct. 6 press call.

"I basically told the team when I came on board that I wanted to scope it so everything is game," VanRoekel said. Because OMB changed the scope of consolidation efforts, number of data centers eligible for closure under the plan increased from less than 2,100 to nearly 2,800.

OMB now says government agencies are on track to shut down 962 data storage abodes by the end of fiscal 2015. OMB's initial goal was to close 800 by that time, with its target based on a program that only included centers of 500 square feet or more. The 2015 closure goal will likely increase yet again--an exact goal will be announced before year end--given the new data center parameters, said VanRoekel.

"Shutting these facilities down increases agency IT efficiencies, strengthens our cybersecurity posture and decreases the government's energy and real estate footprint," wrote VanRoekel in an Oct. 7 White House blog post.

Twenty-four agencies updated and publically posted their data center consolidation strategies in an Oct. 7 CIO.gov post. Agencies' consolidation plans are projected to save more than $5 billion, wrote VanRoekel. He told reporters Oct. 6 that this figure was up from an initial long-term savings estimate of $3 billion. In the short term OMB predicts data center consolidation efforts will save the government $630 million. 

At the end of the year, OMB will issue a comprehensive report with agency-by-agency details on consolidation efforts, said VanRoekel during the call.

The OMB-led Data Center Task Force is helping agencies develop an apples-to-apples comparison for the initiative, said VanRoekel. With a total cost of ownership model, agencies have a uniform, standard way to assess cost savings. OMB will work with agencies this fall to tie these savings to fiscal 2013 budgets and beyond, according to the White House blog post.

For more:
- see the CIO.gov blog post with links to agencies updated data center consolidation plans
- see the White House blog post from VanRoekel
- listen to the Oct. 6 press call

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