Federal Data Center Consolidation Effort Not Cut-and-Dried

Despite the best intentions of reducing the federal data center footprint and freeing up dollars in reduced energy costs, the ambitious goal will be tough to meet, according to new research. 

By Ainsley Jones | Posted Aug 2, 2011
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The federal government has made plans to shut down 800 data centers by 2015, with as many as 100 being shut down this year. Despite the best intentions of reducing the federal data center footprint and freeing up dollars in reduced energy costs, the ambitious goal will be tough to meet, according to new research.

Juniper Networks sponsored and released a survey of 200 federal IT executives conducted by MeriTalk. Only 10 percent of the executives surveyed felt the federal government would meet its lofty expectations, while 23 percent believe the government will end up with more data centers. 

The reasoning behind the executives' predictions comes down to two factors: complexity and demand. The complexity comes from app-driven infrastructure and reliance on legacy applications. Legacy apps, unless rewritten, make it more difficult to consolidate operations, GigaOM reports. Despite offloading some demand to the cloud, a number of applications, for security or technological reasons, won't be able to run in the public cloud.

However, despite the lack of optimism from federal CIOs, the elimination of some energy costs is already occurring to some degree. According to Stanford professor Jonathan Koomey, the rate of growth of energy consumption by data centers has grown slower than the EPA predicted in 2007, largely in part to the recession and improved efficiency in data centers.

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