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“Data closet” closings added to consolidation goals

Jim Smid, Iron Bow Technologies

January 23, 2012  |  Cyber Security  •  Data Center  •  IT Modernization

Sometimes you can’t win for losing. Steven VanRoekel, the federal CIO, announced on Dec. 20 that he’s increasing the target number of data centers to be consolidated between now and 2015. Instead of closing 800 data centers by then, the government is aiming to shut down 1,200 facilities.

Now, Mr. VanRoekel is playing a bit of a numbers game with this initiative. The new “universe” of data centers considered as potential consolidation targets now includes all data centers, not just those with a footprint of at least 500 square feet, so the program will count data “closets” closed toward the ultimate goal. But he’s not cheating. He did increase the size of the universe, by adding in the small-footprint data centers, so the percentages shouldn’t be affected.

So it was surprising when, two days later, Politico’s Morning Tech e-newsletter quoted Jeff Paschke, an analyst with Tier 1 Research, claiming the new goal is a “smoke and mirrors” approach to the feds reaching their consolidation targets. Paschke argued that if most of the closed data centers are the data closets that have been added, would the government have reduced its data center footprint “much at all?”

Personally, I would think it is far more beneficial to close the very smallest data centers first.  Many of these smaller data centers hold critical information, yet because of their size, they often are not properly managed and do not adhere to the best practices that are put in place for larger data centers.  Not only does this mean “out of sight, out of mind,” but it means that mission critical data is not being protected and managed as it should, creating greater risk.

Not to mention, these small data centers are the easiest to close, since they affect fewer people and less functionality has to be moved to other data centers.

Why is it a good thing when businesses pursue the “low-hanging fruit” in their streamlining efforts, but it’s a bad thing when the government does it?

What’s your opinion on this issue?  Please drop me a comment below.

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