U.S. Has Head in the Cloud, Reportedly Plans to Shutter 800 Data Centers

Paul Lilly

Over the course of the next four years, the federal government will close some 800 computer data centers -- which works out to around 40 percent -- in order to save some nickels and dimes, and in an attempt to modernize how it uses computers to manage data, according to a report in The New York Times . Most data centers don't require a large staff, but even still, analysts estimate the closures will eliminate tens of thousands of jobs.

It's part of a plan released by federal CIO Vivek Kundra called the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). The first two phases -- which include an inventory of each agency's assets, and submitting draft consolidation plans -- have been completed, and the next step is to put those plans into action.

Kundra explained the plan as part of a broader strategy of moving towards more efficient computing in the cloud. As it stands, the federal government spends around $80 billion a year on IT related hardware, software, and services, more than any other country in the world. Kundra says there's huge potential for savings by moving to the cloud since each government agency would no longer need to buy and build its own technology systems.

"Redundant systems and applications sprouted like weeds," Kundra said. "Wee need to shift resources away from duplicative systems and use them to improve the citizen experience."

According to Kundra, simply by moving to cloud-based email, the General Services Administration and Department of Agriculture are saving about $42 million (combined) a year.

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