Since 1998 the Federal government quadrupled the number of data centers in operation, and recently found that on average these centers have been using only 27 percent of their computer power. Additionally, taxpayers pay for the entire infrastructure, real estate and energy costs.
In order to cut costs, the Obama administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste, announced a plan to shut down an additional 178 data centers, bringing the total of 373 data centers that will be eliminated by the end of 2012, and 800 by 2015. Overall, the plan is expected to save more than more than $3 billion by 2015.
However, a study released by Juniper Networks and Meritalk finds that the process may be much complicated than initially estimated – complexity that could jeopardize the scale and speed of budget savings.
Based on survey responses from more than 200 Federal IT professionals, the report, “Federal Consolidation Conundrum,” finds that the consolidation initiatives result in significantly more complex data centers that are more difficult to manage, inevitably impacting the potential savings created by consolidation.
Overall, just 10 percent of IT leaders believe that agencies will meet the goal of shuttering 800 centers by 2015 because of complexity issues coupled with an estimated 37 percent increase in demand for computing capacity. In fact, 23 percent of respondents predicted an overall increase in the number of data centers in 2015, according to the report.
As a result of the complexity, survey found that the cost savings created through consolidation are offset (or in some cases overwhelmed) by the cost associated with managing increasingly complex data centers.
The reports found that 60 percent of Federal data centers are running 20 or more operating systems, and 16 percent of survey respondents run more than 100 operating systems. 48 percent are using 20 or more management software applications, while 20 percent of respondents were not sure how many management applications they currently use.