GAO Report on Data Center Consolidation Claims Progress

The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative is progressing
The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative is progressing

The Government Accountability Office recently reported on the progress of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), which began in 2010 with a goal of achieving efficiency and cost savings via a reduction in the number of data centers in the government’s portfolio.

Though they may have a hard time getting through all 117 pages, those charged with data center consolidation in their organizations and interested in gaining perspective on an ongoing effort may find the report to be worth reviewing.

From a starting point of 10,584 data centers in 2010, the federal government targeted 5,203 for closure.

3,125 have been closed over the past 5+ years, with a goal of 2,078 additional data centers to be closed by the end of fiscal year 2019.

Most of these data centers, defined as “non-core”, are likely small data closets or individual servers hosted on site, though analysis of the size and nature of the data centers is not available.

Some interesting notes in the report:

  • The agencies claim $2.7 billion in savings thus far.
  • $5.4 billion additional “savings and avoidances” are projected from 2016 through 2019.
  • Future cost savings may be higher, as roughly half of the agencies involved “have not fully developed their cost savings and avoidance goals.”
  • The 80/20 rule appears to be in effect, as four of the 24 agencies, the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, the Interior, and the Treasury, accounted for 84% of the 3,125 closures.
  • Nine optimization metrics were asked to be reported on by the agencies, but the only metric reported by as many as half of the 24 agencies was a labor efficiency number. Others report not having the proper data to do the mandated analysis.

One would imagine that the bureaucratic nature of these agencies, the fact that labor unions are involved, and the difficulty in migrating legacy applications are all factors that contribute to the slow-going nature of FDCCI, but the report suggests that progress is being made, slowly but surely.