Cooking Data Center Consolidation

The below blog was written by and published with permission by Steve O’Keeffe. Steve O’Keeffe is the founder of MeriTalk – – the government IT network. MeriTalk is an online community that hosts professional networking, thought leadership, and focused events to drive the government IT dialogue. A 20-year veteran of the government IT community, O’Keeffe has worked in government and industry. In addition to MeriTalk, he founded Telework Exchange, GovMark Council, and O’Keeffe & Company Sometimes great ideas run into roadblocks.  That's when you need to think differently.  Who could argue with today's data center consolidation direction?  Green, secure, efficient – this is apple pie stuff.  So, why is the Hill sending the platter back to the kitchen – and questioning the bill?  Perhaps it's time to reconsider the recipe? Today, agencies across the Federal government are holding on investment in existing data centers while they audit resources in the data center census.  Three points here.  First, Federal data centers across the government are falling into disrepair – damaging performance and compromising security – as agencies wait to understand how many data centers they have and try to work out which to close and how to consolidate.  This is driving new daily headaches for CIOs.  Second, it’s very hard for parents to choose which of their children should live or die.  Internal IT politics within agencies are red hot as data center owners jockey for survival.  Third, perhaps data center consolidation should not be an agency level decision?  After all, the intent here is to furnish the Federal government with the optimal data center footprint, not to merely consolidate centers within specific agencies.  These data centers are Federal assets, not agency chattels. So, here's a page out of an alternative cookbook.  Let's keep the current data kitchens cooking to feed today's agency data and application appetites.  Yes, I'm recommending breaking the fast diet imposed since February of last year.  At the same time, OMB should consider all of the data that it has collected from respective agencies and focus not so much on the current population of data centers, but rather on agencies' data processing requirements.  OMB could then fund the construction of a series of new, state-of-the-art data centers – which would offer greater green, secure, and efficient attributes – and transition data processing from legacy soup stands into the shiny new kitchens.  This would empower a true Federal-level plan, not a series of agency saucepan strategies.  This fusion approach would also bring agencies together to consider new computing models in the Federal data centers – accelerating the path to cloud computing and enabling a new integrated security approach. Skeptics whose palates are turned off by the investment tab should hold their judgment.  Yes, it will be expensive to cook up the new Federal data center infrastructure, but consider the mid-term return on investment and your mouth will start to water.  Not just data center savings, but a path to nouveau computing cuisine and the chance to solve the security chaos.  Now that sounds like good eatin' to me. Interested in sampling new data center consolidation recipes?  Pull up a chair for MeriTalk Innovation Nation in D.C. on April 5th.  Or, if you’re outside the Beltway, make a reservation for the MeriTalk Data Center Consolidation Roadshow program – we’re serving up debate in San Antonio, San Diego, and Tampa.  Bon appétit.