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Consolidate Count of Applications, not Count of Data Centers

The Army will achieve much bigger savings from eliminating application duplication and from preparations of apps to movement to cloud computing than from physical data center consolidation. To date, the Army has identified 16,000 applications that are running at post camps. The challenge is working ways how to devise application modernization and consolidation.

So far the Army’s data center consolidation efforts have been a “forklift operation,” which is moving servers from one location to another. That is costly but without demonstrable payoffs.

The Army is not showing major saving from cutting data centers through merely relocating servers. The savings are in the elimination of the duplication of maintenance and support costs of local applications, usually performed buy local contractors.

Just how many data centers the Army has is still an unknown. It has been estimated that the Army currently has about 500 data centers where a center is defined as a facility with 300 square feet or larger fully devoted to data processing. That is now defined as a closet, room, floor or building for the storage, management and dissemination of data and information.

The costs of IT are not in servers, which are not expensive, but in the expense for support and maintenance labor. Any efforts that concentrate on the numerical elimination of the data center count – especially if this count is magnified through changing definitions – will lead to misleading conclusions. Data center elimination should be measure in the reduction in total operating costs, not in counting installations. This makes application consolidation a much greater challenge, as code has to be transported into virtual computing that can accept compatible policy implementation, such as security.

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