Bringing Government IT Modernization and Innovation to the Forefront

Data Center Consolidation in Government: Progress and Best Practices

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Recently, Software AG Government Solutions Chief Solutions Architect, Chris Steel, was part of a panel discussion about data center consolidation in government on Federal News Radio. Other panelists included Mike Krieger, Deputy CIO, US Army; Ed Dorris, CIO, OCC/Department of Treasury; Mary Givvines, Deputy Director for Office of Information Services, NRC; Vaughn Stewart, Chief Technical Evangelist, Pure Storage and Tony Evans, Director, Worldwide Defense Systems, Schneider Electric. The panel was moderated by Jim Flyzik of the Flyzik Group.

Krieger kicked off the discussion by sharing some examples of progress being made with data center consolidation in the Army. He said the Army is in the process of migrating over 1,200 data centers to DISA core or commercial data centers. So far they’ve closed almost 300 and will continue consolidation efforts, but their focus is currently on “modernizing, virtualizing and migrating applications.” Dorris shared that the Department of Treasury has co-located several disparate data centers to one consolidated data center. He said this move has opened up the floor space, power and cooling they need to take on some of the challenges associated with big data and big data analytics. Phase two of the project will involve expanding their in-house disaster recovery capabilities in-house. Steel said that Software AG Government Solutions is seeing three different areas of focus with their federal customers: integrating existing applications, helping customers optimize current applications with in-memory computing and IT portfolio management—the ability to help customers understand what systems they have running and what the different dependencies are among the various programs.

Givvines shared that the NRC is in the beginning stages of its data center consolidation efforts. They are in the process of consolidating from nine data centers down to two, as well as moving towards increased use of virtualization. Green IT is also a focus for NRC, and they’re in the design phase of a private cloud project.

Another priority issue for government agencies is cloud and managed services. Moderator Jim Flyzik asked the panelists how cloud and managed services fit into their data consolidation and IT modernization strategies. Dorris said that Treasury is taking a relatively conservative approach to cloud adoption and managed services, but have moved their mobile device management, email and service management to the cloud. The key, Dorris said, that managed services from a quality commercial partner allows them to free up internal resources. NRC shared that managed services is a key component of their data consolidation efforts, and they’re looking at other opportunities to use the cloud and managed services. Givvines said that security is a key consideration for NRC and they’re taking a phased-in approach, being careful to evaluate security at every turn. Krieger said that the Army migrated email to DISA in 2012, and that their current challenge, as with NRC, is security, and they’re evaluating which applications need to be in a private government cloud versus commercial cloud.

Panelists went on to share lessons learned from their data consolidation efforts to date as well as challenges that are still to come and their visions for the future. You can watch the recording of the entire program on Federal News Radio (free registration required).


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