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Who bears blame for data-center consolidation setbacks?

Feb. 12, 2014 - 05:18PM   |  
By MICHAEL HARDY   |   Comments
Is Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel managing the FDCCI effectively?
Is Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel managing the FDCCI effectively? (Gannett Government Media Corp)

The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative has hit a few snags, and seen the total number of data centers rise rather than fall, as was planned. Some commentators are wondering aloud who is responsible for the problem – or whether it even is a problem.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal data center inventory grew from 3,133 to 6,836 between December 2011 and July 2013, largely due to evolving definitions of the term. That is why some argue that the rise is less significant than it seems.

At InfoWorld, for example, Bill Snyder writes: “the definition of data centers was expanded to include server rooms and closets that in some cases are smaller than 100 square feet; thus, it's not clear how many of the thousands of new data centers are actually data centers.”

On the other hand, at least one critic says the effort is failing and lays the blame at the feet of Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

“Far from taking leadership on FDCCI, our IT Moses let data centers grow between his toes while he snored,” wrote MeriTalk founder Steve O’Keeffe in a late January blog post criticizing VanRoekel on several different points.

At The Data Center Journal, Jeff Clark notes that a new NSA data center under construction in Utah will occupy more square footage than the hundreds of data centers closed under the FDCCI combined.

“Part of the problem, of course, is that the federal government is constantly expanding, requiring an ever larger amount of IT infrastructure to support its enormous weight,” Clark wrote. “The result is a moving target that makes an already difficult bureaucratic initiative all but impossible. The Federal CIO cannot be entirely blamed for the difficulties facing the FDCCI, but the main question is whether the office serves any purpose.”

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