More Federal Data Centers Could Close

How many data centers does it take to run the United States government? Too many, apparently.

Steven VanRoekel, the newly appointed federal CIO, wants to consolidate big time. A previous plan had the goal of closing 800 of 2,000 data centers of 500 square feet or more by 2015. Now, however, Microsoft veteran VanRoekel wants to take “bolder steps” and include facilities of 100 square feet or more.

Doing so increases the number of data centers that could be closed to 2,800. VanRoekel’s office is working on a cost model that will let agency CIOs run the numbers of their raised floor space to see how much can and should be cut. The CIO noted that data center infrastructure is eating up 30 percent of his $80 billion annual budget, so something’s got to give. There may be $630 million in near-term savings as a result of consolidation, and more than $5 billion to be saved beyond 2015.

Will jobs be lost? No, says, Van Roekel. He hopes to move workers to “more high-value work.” Still, this laser focus on the IT bottom line can’t be comforting to federal IT workers who assumed that public sector positions might give them a bit of job security.

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