Don't Get Lost in the Number (of data centers)


Last week, GAO announced that they had "found" some 2000 more federal data centers, bringing the total number of federal data centers to some 11,700. The number has fluctuated between 2,000 and 9,000 for the last few years largely because the definition of what constitutes a data center keeps changing. The reality is there are only about 275 data centers that the government considers core, whatever that means.

Yesterday, federal CIO Tony Scott announced he was going to take another run at data center consolidation, as first reported by Federal News Radio. He wants to get the definition right and then begin to apply a new set of metrics that will allow us to fully understand not just how many data centers we have, but how efficient and effective those data centers that we need are operating.

This action is important and the timing seems right. With the implementation of FITARA going full steam (remember it calls for accelerated data center consolidation) and the introduction of new and innovative technologies that can reduce the data center footprint, while enhancing performance and efficiency, government needs to take advantage the opportunity. Whether we have 275 data centers or 11,700, what's important is that we maximize the efficiency of those that we need and don't get wrapped up in the numbers.

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