When it comes to operational efficiencies, the U.S. government may not be the first organization that comes to mind. As nonprofits, government agencies don’t always have a reputation for efficient spending, but that trend may be shifting, as recent activities suggest cloud communications may be a new focus.
According to a recent Silicon Angle report, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released figures showing that since August, 64 data centers have been shut down. Further, the organization is overall aiming to close 40 percent of its 3100 data centers in an effort to save $5 billion total. The shutdown schedule includes 1200 data centers, while 382 have already been nicked since the effort began in 2010.
The OMB is on an unwavering course for modernization of the government’s data centers, focused on a new bent toward cloud communications. The data centers included in the planned shutdowns include those that range and scale as large as a hangar. Such operations have proven to be inefficient and unfortunately no longer meet with the OMB’s strategy for cloud communications.
On the other hand, computing systems under consideration now offer more energy efficiency, enabling the widespread adoption of cloud communications and other cloud technologies alike. The planned transition includes the adoption of virtualization, as the government focuses on adding flexibility and redundancy features to the overall infrastructure.
This restructuring is not a foreign concept in the commercial environment, seeing how data centers move and consolidate all the time. The OMB therefore has initiated a stringent schedule that will make the government’s cloud communications and data centers extremely redundant, even what many may refer to as “overbuilt.” The systems in question do drive critical operations, making redundancy a critical priority.
Considering the fact that the data captured and managed by the government is growing (with no end in sight) and not shrinking, the consolidation of the data center network is that much more interesting. Legacy systems are expected to be a big part of this transformation, as they are not only valuable, but also easily and readily virtualized. A key advantage to this push is certainly the operational savings, while significant flexibility and capability also add to the motivation.
Commercial and other nonprofit organizations can certainly learn from this effort as the closing of so many data centers is not likely an easy endeavor. The sheer number of people involved alone can make this transition almost insurmountable, if not for a clear strategy with detailed steps included.
A failure to manage the process effectively can quickly lead to unnecessary costs that negate the promised benefits. After all, cloud communications should be designed to enable greater flexibility, capability and efficiency. Without these benefits, a massive change in the infrastructure could just be time and resources wasted.
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