US government to close 800 data centers by 2015

By on July 20, 2011, 7:15 PM

The US government will reportedly undertake various measures to drastically reduce its IT spending, including the closure of 40% of its computer centers by 2015, the NY Times reports. The US federal government has the world's largest IT budget at roughly $80 billion a year, and according to White House chief information officer Vivek Kundra, much of that cash is ill spent.

Kundra noted that the nation's 2,000 data centers utilize only 27% of their potential computing power and 40% of their overall storage capacity. By shutting 800 of those centers, analysts believe the move will save billions of dollars a year along with clearing approximately fourteen football fields worth of real estate.

Although data centers generally don't require a large staff to keep the gears oiled, it's estimated that tens of thousands of jobs will be eliminated over the next four years. The closures will begin this year with 195 centers targeted for execution by the end of 2011, followed by another 178 in 2012. The centers vary in size from 1,000 to 195,000 square feet.

Besides simply saving cash, the move will consolidate the government's IT infrastructure. For example, Kundra notes that across various US agencies, hundreds of different programs are used for financial accounting and human resources. "Redundant systems and applications sprouted like weeds," he said.

"We need to shift resources away from duplicative systems and use them to improve the citizen experience." To accomplish this, the government will rely on internal and third party cloud computing platforms.

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