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Moving the Goal Posts

OMB has also revised the definition of "data center" to include anything from "wiring closets" to facilities 500-square feet large and more, said Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said. (1)

OMB now says government agencies are on track to shut down 962 data storage abodes by the end of fiscal 2015. OMB's initial goal was to close 800 by that time, with its target based on a program that only included centers of 500 square feet or more.

 This move is a welcome revision of the original goals that were based on a count of data centers with more than 500 square feet. (2) When the services finally count all of the wiring closets dispersed through offices they may discover that the actual number of “data centers” is likely much larger than originally estimated. DoD components will be now able to report meeting OMB consolidation targets by relocating isolated servers into locations where shared physical space makes the target counts easier to report. Whether this will actually deliver savings is arguable, because the cost of rewiring and relocation without corresponding software and operator savings will not contribute to the large expected savings.

We have already some numbers on 2010-2011 data consolidation savings in response to the 2010 Kundra’s mandate. OMB published savings numbers on October. So far the reported savings are $14.6 million. (3) That’s 0.18 percent of the Fed IT budget. The reported savings are from Agriculture $4.2M; EPA $1.5M; Justice $1.9M; NASA $0.3M; State $1.7M and Transportation $5M.

How the ambitious data center cost reductions will be accomplished and the results will be accounted for is anybody’s guess. OMB should require that in the future all of the reported savings should be shown in long term reductions in capital and operating dollars, not only on data center counts.


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