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US Government Begins Largest IT Consolidation in History

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 3 years ago | from the wtb-bofh dept.

Government 283

miller60 writes "Saying 1,100 data centers is too many, the federal government has begun what looms as the largest IT consolidation in history. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has directed federal agencies to inventory their assets by April 30 and prepare a plan to reduce the number of servers and data centers, with a focus on slashing energy costs (full memo). Kundra says some applications may be shifted to cloud computing platforms customized for government use."

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meow (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318036)

first post!!!

... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (4, Insightful)

Zarf (5735) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318050)

I predict a rash of job openings that you can get hired for provided you can spell "Cloud Computing"

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318082)

Clud Crumpooting

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318142)

Frosted butts!

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (-1, Troll)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318188)

Why? It doesn't seem to have been a job qualification to be able to spell or pronounce "nookuler"

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (-1, Flamebait)

cromar (1103585) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318464)

Right, because people with different accents from you are automatically unintelligent. Elitist bastard! But, I suppose it's OK to insult large swaths of the US population because you hate GW. Hur hur hur. Good one.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318658)

You, my friend, misunderestimate.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (2, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319084)

That right there is good strategery.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318672)

Uh, no. "Nookuler" is not merely a different pronouncement. It's a total failure to understand the phonemes that constitute the word. Ever wonder why people who pronounce "nuclear" like "nookuler" don't have equally strange pronounciations for other words? That's because it isn't an accent. As important as the office of the presidency is, there's nothing wrong with being particular about the intellectual ability of the person holding that office. It's perfectly reasonable to question whether a person who cannot handle a simple task like pronouncing this word is fit to wield executive power. You can cry "elitism" all you like, it does not change this.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (-1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318974)

George Bush should not be hated because he was stupid. He was not. He should be hated because he and Bill Clinton before him sold our country. Sold our freedoms. Because the polls and the special interests are more important than the country. Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Obama are traitors to this country and should all get the fuck out.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319012)

Perhaps you should pay some attention to your Spam folder... I believe there are messages in there from people willing to sell you vallium, which you clearly need.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319060)

That doesn't preclude him from being stupid.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (2, Insightful)

cromar (1103585) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318976)

You are wrong my friend, very wrong. For example, Missourians have plenty of different pronunciations when compared to the North East, the South, California, the other Midwestern states, etc. Here in Missouri, many people say "nookyuler" 9or whoever you want to phoneticize it). We also have pronunciations such as "Da-ad" for "dad," "Missour-uh," and we drop are G's as often as the East and West Coasters use the term "fly-over states." (Another example of elitist BS.) There ain't nothin' wrong with th' way we speak.

I'm not trying to say GW was an intelligent person. (Are any politicians very bright? You'd have to do a lot to convince me.) I'm saying he wasn't an idiot because of his accent. I hate elitist crap like that. And frankly, it is sad you can't see the inherent prejudice and ignorance in statements such as the one we are discussing. It upsets me, but I get some satisfaction when I see arrogant people get intellectually sucker-punched when they underestimate "us poor country folk" and end up showing who is the real idiot. I'm not directing that at you, I'm sure it's just an honest mistake on your part, but again, you have an ill-conceived notion that has no basis in reality.

http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/missouri/missouri.htm [ku.edu]

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319212)

Nonsense.

Once upon a time, there was an expectation that the person holding the highest office in the land would conduct themselves in a concise, careful, and wise manner. The fact that a growing majority of Americans would rather embrace the contrived folksy populism of people like W or Sarah Palin is strong evidence (though hardly the only evidence) that America is entering the long decline suffered by every past empire.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (0, Flamebait)

cromar (1103585) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319032)

I'm replying to flame-baiting you idiots, not the other way around. I like how you can say some bigoted piece of shit sentence and when someone defends themselves and their region/dialect/whatever, they are labeled as malicious rabble-rousers. What a fucking failure in moderated discussion.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319090)

40, 50, or 60 years ago, there were indeed pronounced accents in the United States. Sometimes, crossing a state line meant everyone sounded quite different. Today? Come on - damned near no one speaks with a pronounced accent. Just a bit of a drawl here, some slurring there - nothing that accounts for nuke-you-lar physics.

I always liked this song - especially the line, "Learned to talk like the man on the six o'clock news" at about 2:40

When I was in junior high school, a teacher from out of state told us, "No matter how far from home you go, people will know that you're from Western Pennsylvania as soon as you open your mouth, and they'll dismiss you as an ignorant hillbilly." Like the song says, I learned to talk like the guy on the news, and I simply don't use those three terms the teacher was telling us about.

Bottom line? Ignorant is as ignorant does.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318190)

You spell it "A huge cloud of shit" [youtube.com] .

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318970)

It depends entirely on the political clout of your congressional representation.

Re:... if you can spell "Cloud Computing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319164)

those 1100 servers were already serviced by a lot of people, they'd be stupid to fire them and then seek others to replace them, oh wait, we're talking about a government project, never mind

Dear Contractors... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318058)

Dinner is served! Please approach the money trough in an orderly line...

Re:Dear Contractors... (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318432)

I know you're joking, but it could go either way. Trying to manage, secure, track and backup the huge number of servers that the various agencies and departments use costs a pretty considerable amount of money to do right. Of course they haven't been doing it right up until now. Consolidating into a smaller number of server farms that are somewhat spread through the US has definite potential in terms of dealing with those factors more efficiently. That being said, we won't know until it happens, there's still plenty of ways for pork and waste to creep into the equation.

Re:Dear Contractors... (5, Funny)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318694)

I for one have full confidence in the government that after reorganizing their data centers, they will have a lean, optimized, efficient operation. Who's with me?

Re:Dear Contractors... (4, Funny)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318826)

Sure, as long as they bring in the free market to do it. Nothing gets a job done on time and under cost like unfettered free enterprise and rugged individualism.

Re:Dear Contractors... (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319176)

There are, absolutely undeniably, substantial economies of scale in IT at virtually every step of the game. Hardware gets cheaper as it is produced in greater volume, software costs serious cash to write but nothing to copy, small shops might have a 1/25 admin/server ratio because the minimum number of admins is 1(.5 admins just lie on the floor oozing organ goo) while large ones might have a 1/10,000 ratio plus a few screwdriver monkeys.

And, honestly, I'd be delighted if the feds can realize some of those economies. I'm sure that there are plenty of grossly inefficient little fiefdoms out there, just waiting to be consolidated.

My concern is twofold: one is that there are non-obvious potential diseconomies of scale(and not just because this is the evil gummin't with its waste and corruption, a lot of the good stories are private sector). Centralization and standardization are all well and good until you end up waiting three weeks and submitting petitions in triplicate just to get some software installed or setting changed, and don't even think about setting up a little wiki or git repo or something for your team with approval from a half dozen departments.

The second issue is, of course, concern over the government contracting process, regulatory capture, revolving door incentives, outright corruption, and whatnot. The magical efficiency of the private sector isn't going to do us a whole lot of good if the project ends up as a cost-plus job for SAIC [wikipedia.org] or one of the other byzantine contracting behemoths that specialize in landing(and on occasion even fulfilling) contracts.

Re:Dear Contractors... (4, Informative)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319066)

I work on the DoT network, and this thought scares me. Please remember the lowest bidder gets the job in most cases, we recently started putting VM servers in, and these guys can't even reboota a virtual server without screwing it up. As a regional subcontractor, I'm completely locked out, to the point that I had to spend 10 minutes on the phone with our official helpdesk explaining the runas command in windows to the guy on the other end so he could run a command I don't have access to...

Bout time (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318076)

See, the last time we upgraded we put everything on eleven hundred windows 95 machines with 1 gig hard drives. That did pretty good for a spell, all things considered. Now we're thinking about one of them pointy computers... whaddya call em? Blade servers? Yeah, we hear good things about those.

Prediction (4, Insightful)

maugle (1369813) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318108)

This being a government IT project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

Re:Prediction (5, Insightful)

Blade (1720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318154)

This being an IT project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318280)

I'm glad I don't work where-ever it is that you do...

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318720)

yeah, at our place it's 6 years longer than planned, costs 11x the initial budget, and failed on initial launch.

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319074)

That sounds like a typical American corporation. These days, they're about as inefficient as the government. It's no surprise, given that the same people end up running both.

Re:Prediction (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319160)

The high failure rate for large software projects is well known [codinghorror.com] : "If Las Vegas sounds too tame for you, software might just be the right gamble. Software projects include a glut of risks that would give Vegas oddsmakers nightmares. The odds of a large project finishing on time are close to zero. The odds of a large project being canceled are an even-money bet (Jones 1991)."

Here is another fun page [ieee.org] : "Most IT experts agree that such failures occur far more often than they should. What's more, the failures are universally unprejudiced: they happen in every country; to large companies and small; in commercial, nonprofit, and governmental organizations; and without regard to status or reputation."

I only question why, when large projects are almost universally over-budget or fail altogether, we persist in being surprised and outraged every time? The simple fact is, we don't know how to do it, any more than we know how to land on mars; that is, we can do it, sometimes, but you better know going in it is likely to end in tears.

(In general, it seems to me that most of the problems in government have direct parallels in private industry because they flow from the same underlying cause; the unaffordability of medicare/medicaid corresponds to skyrocketing premiums in the private market; social security corresponds to slashing pensions and now even 401k matches in private industry. But private industry does hold a trump card - they can always cut their losses by tossing people aside and moving on, whereas government is the safety net.)

Pfft! Naive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318966)

This being an Government project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

Whereas a private sector project it would take 2 years longer than planned, cost 3x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

Fixed that for you.

Fixed that for YOU.

Government incompetence and stupidity is always a factor of 5 times private projects. Why? Because Government has much less accountability than private - it just gets buried in the bureaucracy.

Re:Prediction (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318158)

This being a government IT project, I predict it will take 5 years longer than planned, cost 10x the initial budget, and still never really work quite right.

Then it will be a complete success.

Re:Prediction (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318260)

It depends if the idea happened with you/your party supporting or rejecting the idea initially. So if it was your party idea then it is a success otherwise it would be a failure.

Re:Prediction (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318722)

Government: There's no success like failure.

Re:Prediction (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318764)

Unless they outsource it to the FREE MARKET in which case it will be the most efficient, cost-effective solution ever completed six months ahead of schedule.

Re:Prediction (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318960)

Hey, beltway bandits have families to feed and boat payments to make, like everyone else.

Computer Rooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318118)

We don't have data centers! We have "Computer Rooms"!

IT as a commodity (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318134)

Finally, IT is on its way to being considered a commodity, as it should. There's no reason for every organization to maintain their own IT infrastructure any more than there's reason for every organization to maintain their own electricity generation and distribution. Of course, the hordes of IT people won't be happy, as the number of It jobs will continue to fall precipitously, but such is life. Because everybody has access to relatively significant computing power, society as a whole gets to reap the rewards, as opposed to 20 years ago, when only the largest organizations had the money and the manpower to maintain an IT network of any kind.

Re:IT as a commodity (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318276)

And if you like the way your bank is not liable for identity theft, you'll just love the upcoming government data-filled Cloud!

Re:IT as a commodity (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318640)

Stop calling it identity theft.

It as "Banks refusing to take action to prevent fraud".

Re:IT as a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318304)

WITCH! A witch! Burn her!

Re:IT as a commodity (5, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318312)

I am not quite sure what you are talking about. Because everyone has access to yesteryear's supercomputer on their desktop, there is no reason whatever to go back to a 1960s outsourcing model. If you want to distribute load over your machines, go ahead! But why do it over someone else's?

If you think this is going to reduce IT expenditure requirements, you have barely worked a minute in IT. When you outsource, you are simply paying someone else to do your job, plus profit, plus a gaggle of negotiators in middle management collecting their kickbacks, plus downtime costs because your business is less important to them than your business is to you (if you have enterprise e-mail and it has been down more than, say, GMail, you have done something very wrong)...

Re:IT as a commodity (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319000)

If you think this is going to reduce IT expenditure requirements, you have barely worked a minute in IT. When you outsource, you are simply paying someone else to do your job, plus profit, plus a gaggle of negotiators in middle management collecting their kickbacks, plus downtime costs because your business is less important to them than your business is to you (if you have enterprise e-mail and it has been down more than, say, GMail, you have done something very wrong)...

I've worked in IT for... a few years. And I agree with the GP.

See, the thing is that while huge organisations will continue to require significant IT infrastructure (either managed inhouse or managed by an outside firm), huge organisations do not provide the majority of jobs in this world. The great majority of jobs are provided by SMBs. The really small SMBs have been outsourcing their IT for years - though "outsourcing their IT" probably translates to "get Dave's son to do it, he knows about computers".

Slightly larger SMBs have been outsourcing their IT to some little company who thought they could earn easy money doing installation and support. Look in the yellow pages, you'll find hundreds of little companies offering services like this. Few of these little outsourcing companies are making serious money - there's simply too much competition in the market.

Larger still SMBs (think medium rather than small, 40-200 employees) may have historically had a full-time IT person. But today there are dozens of companies offering outsourced Exchange, or you can sign up for Google for Domains and the price is so cheap that there is no way a single full-time IT person (even if you ignore their salary) can compete economically - never mind offering four or five nines uptime and spam filtering which doesn't leave people crying. Meanwhile, the cost of a single desktop PC is now so low that it's cheaper to have a spares cupboard containing enough spare PCs to re-equip an entire team at a moment's notice than it is to keep someone on staff to maintain them. Sure, they won't be particularly elegantly managed (there may not be a domain, antivirus may be totally forgotten about, they certainly won't have a standardised build) but let's be honest here - how many non-techies ever display any sign of caring about any of that? And business-specific niche software is frequently sold with a support contract anyway.

Seriously - while anyone who takes careers advice from a stranger on /. probably needs their brains looking at, I'd say if you want steady employment with minimal risk of finding that not only are you redundant from your current post, supply and demand has made you worth considerably less since you last were jobhunting - get yourself a job in the public sector or get the hell out of IT.

Re:IT as a commodity (2, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319268)

Few of these little outsourcing companies are making serious money - there's simply too much competition in the market.

Little nit to pick with that... From my perspective it seems like the competent folks quickly reach carrying capacity and simply choose not to expand their operation. I don't know what you mean by "serious money", but having a steady roster of clients who are willing to pay a slight premium for your services doesn't look like a bad way to conduct business.

There may be a lot of competition, there certainly are tons of very intelligent people on the job market, but it seems like there aren't too many people who are both competent and professional.

Re:IT as a commodity (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318466)

I agree with the government's effort to consolidate, because you can take advantage of cheaper per-gigabyte costs and have more robust backup, recovery, disaster recovery, and redundancy solutions when you're using enterprise equipment in large data centers. I think the government has a lot to gain from consolidation in this manner.

However, I don't see that they'd have much to gain by outsourcing. Government data, by nature, is quite a bit more sensitive than just about any private company's data. The kind of security the government needs is not going to come cheaply, and it's arguable that any private company is really capable of providing it (although they say they are). Even if they can provide it, it's doubtful they can do it cheaper than the government could. For people in need of true commodity services like web hosting, outsourcing makes sense because it can be done far cheaper that way. For people in need of large-scale custom solutions, like the government, keeping it in-house is going to tend to be both more secure and less expensive.

Re:IT as a commodity (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318798)

You assume they haven't already outsourced everything already.

From where I'm sitting (in a government IT center, with about 5 actual government employees among the couple thousand that work here), that's not all that likely to be a valid assumption.

Re:IT as a commodity (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318820)

You must not be aware of how many government data centers are already privately operated.

Re:IT as a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318582)

Computing power is a commodity, but there are plenty of other IT things that aren't.

Re:IT as a commodity (1)

Target Practice (79470) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319086)

Finally, IT is on its way to being considered a commodity, as it should. There's no reason for every organization to maintain their own IT infrastructure any more than there's reason for every organization to maintain their own electricity generation and distribution. Of course, the hordes of IT people won't be happy...

You need to go watch Metropolis. Just because the workers aren't visible, doesn't mean the workers aren't there. The jobs will still be there, just relocated a bit. Oh, and we'll have a hot female robot overlord to incite riots in all the workers.

Better not use Northrop Grumman (3, Informative)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318138)

If Virginia's IT overhaul [washingtonpost.com] is any indication [timesdispatch.com] , this is going to be a slow-motion cluster of a mess [washingtontechnology.com] for the next 10-20 years

Re:Better not use Northrop Grumman (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318478)

If Virginia's IT overhaul [washingtonpost.com] is any indication [timesdispatch.com] , this is going to be a slow-motion cluster of a mess [washingtontechnology.com] for the next 10-20 years

Let's not forget that Vivek Kundra was Virginia's CIO when that fiasco took place. I predict that this will be at least as bad as the Virginia situation.

Re:Better not use Northrop Grumman (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319034)

I think you are mistaking him with Anesh Chopra (Chief Technology Officer). I see Kundra (Chief Information Officer) as having been the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Virgina

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivek_Kundra [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneesh_Chopra [wikipedia.org]

Re:Better not use Northrop Grumman (3, Interesting)

mikefocke (64233) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318724)

Of course it is

consolidations are always a mess and ones full of job implications mean political interference (I want em in my district).

But you have to do something as the growth of government IT gets out of hand and we can only afford so much.

IIRC, the government consolidated all the payroll systems it had into about 4 pay centers back about 10 years ago. Went from maintaining hundreds to one s/w run 4 places for redundancy. Everybody screamed they needed theirs because it had unique features, they learned to do without or incorporated the features into the new s/w. Wasn't that fairly successful?

While all govt computing is a bit more complex now than a single application was then, still if we are to afford the things we really need, consolidation and standardization makes sense.

Now the contracting and execution...that will be a challenge. And so what if it takes 5 years, if we are going in the right direction and saving money in the long run. Because we can't sustain even the current government spending on what we are willing to vote as taxes.

Consolidate (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318148)

Every business I've ever worked for has had that one dusty 8086 off in a corner. It would run a single batch file every few hours. No one would touch it, because no one knew what it did-- just that whatever it did do was mission critical.

Thus, the US government should just consolidate everything down to a single batch program run by a 8086. I'm sure there's a spare closet in the White House or something they can use as a server room.

Re:Consolidate (2, Informative)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318342)

I know that as late as 1995, NASA still had some satellites that were still controlled by some Commodore 64s in a warehouse near White Sands, New Mexico.

I'm sure they've fixed that by now. Probably. Possibly.

Re:Consolidate (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318460)

Maybe they're now running in C64 emulators.

TEOTWAWKI.bat ... every 108 minutes (2, Funny)

knuckledraegger (910257) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318736)

4 8 15 16 23 42

Re:Consolidate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318822)

mission critical batch program?

Councillor Hamann: There is so much in this world that I do not understand. See that machine? It has something to do with recycling our water supply. I have absolutely no idea how it works. But I do understand the reason for it to work. I have absolutely no idea how you are able to do some of the things you do, but I believe there's a reason for that as well. I only hope we understand that reason before it's too late.

Memo not clear (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318180)

The memo isn't clear if this project is only for what i'd call "paper shuffling" agencies, or if Department of Energy, NASA, DOD, etc, are going to be required to participate as well. I doubt they would be, but they're also the ones who require the most computing resources, I would think. Of course, it seems they put the CIO of DHS in charge of this (for what reason, I don't know, but probably a nefarious one), so who knows what sort of ridiculousness is going to come of it.

Re:Memo not clear (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318414)

They put the head of DHS in charge of it because DHS wants to make sure they get their monitoring gear in front of all these sites, and the easiest way to make that happen is for DHS to run it. It's the same idea as to why DHS is so heavily involved in the TIC project: they want a specific outcome, but that outcome isn't what's publicly stated.

Re:Memo not clear (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318890)

You might be surprised at what agencies and have requirements for the most computing resources. Sure, DoD and NASA are high on the list, but so are IRS, SSA, CMS. Operational agencies that serve most Americans have HUGE amounts of data to manage.

Re:Memo not clear (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319026)

Are you referring to processing power, or computer resources? Cause I would think the IRS and Social Security both have a crapload more stuff than the DoE..

Where do I send my resume? (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318210)

In for some way overpriced consulting gigs. :)

Re:Where do I send my resume? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318338)

Oh, there's plenty of consulting companies you can apply with. Google is your friend. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Google was one of the companies whose 'cloud platform' will be making money off the government, so you could try there first. ;-)

Re:Where do I send my resume? (2, Interesting)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318574)

This is no joke. I work at one of the biggest government data centers, and we consider Google to be alternately either our best friend or the people who will put us out of business. Google is our biggest domestic consumer -- I think they've already sucked down all the data we have here on site. I could easily see them positioning themselves to take over the ingesting and archiving responsibilities.

Google likely already has a copy of all the nonclassified data that the government is holding. The only people with more appetite for data are the Chinese. If the government decides to outsource data centers, that's where they'll be going.

Re:Where do I send my resume? (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318580)

Yes, Google is always the answer :) In fact, the number of 'virtualization' positions I've seen advertised for in the northern va area recently has gone way up....now I see why.

So there is Hope for the Secret Service ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318282)

"A classified review of the United States Secret Service's computer technology found that the agency's computers were fully operational only 60 percent of the time because of outdated systems and a reliance on a computer mainframe that dates to the 1980s, according to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. "
(loc. cit. [go.com] )

CC.

Vivek (5, Interesting)

bigmattana (646048) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318294)

Oh, Vivek, what brilliant thing will you think of next? How much energy will it take to replace all of these server farms? How much energy will be required for the taxpayers to earn the money necessary to pay for it? What about security concerns of consolidating all of this data?

I think Vivek wants to make himself look useful after being exposed as a fraud by John C. Dvorak. http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/ [dvorak.org]

Re:Vivek (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318790)

Yes, no one should earn money, consolidate data, or expend energy reducing their overall energy consumption. You would make a great CIO, what are you doing giving away your insights for free on slashdot?

Re:Vivek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318808)

It's a technically sound idea, it's just doomed to failure.
It might still have been a good idea even with some expectation of failure, but by the sound of this there will be too much failure to handle at one time, and the failure will come so fast that by the time they amass the competency to handle it it's all over.

Re:Vivek (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318898)

I think Vivek wants to make himself look useful after being exposed as a fraud by John C. Dvorak. http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/ [dvorak.org]

So who will make Dvorak look useful after exposing himself as a fraud? [youtube.com]

ALL HACKERS WELCOME, HOURLY RATES APPLY (1)

whtdrgn101 (779487) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318320)

Well, this strikes me as a good way to create one large highly vulnerable target. I understand conserving energy and creating a single uniform and tight security standard, but putting all your eggs in one basket is like putting up a neon sign that reads "ALL HACKERS WELCOME, HOURLY RATES APPLY"

BRB, buying VMware stock. (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318324)

All that's left to do now is pick curtains for my sea side villa in the Carribean.

We are too small to realize a savings (1)

coulbc (149394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318340)

We have 89 users and twenty five servers. The cost to move to managed hosting is 3x our current annual cost. We also still need bandwidth to servers that used to be local as well. It makes no sense at all. On top of that the managed services do not allow any bleeding edge deployments.

Sounds promising, but... (2, Informative)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318348)

I work for a government project in a Federally funded building right now and all I can say is... it sound promising. Common sense, proper planning and innovation gets put on the back burner for under-estimated budgets, bad trade studies, botched planning and wrong decisions being made by the wrong people. In the end, everything will still be money driven and the stove-pipe approach to IT infrastructure will remain the same: everyone will take their OWN budgeted money and set up their OWN infrastructure that will be completely different than project-A over project-B, so you'd spend double that to consolidate it. If you want to use some of project-A's setup (e.g. authentication, storage, ect.) because mis-managed budgets being a huge concern, project-B will get quoted a ridiculous amount of money to jump aboard to do it; much more, in-fact, than it would take to do a trade study, setup of a proof-of-concept test, purchase what you need and implement it. Thus that's how stove-piped approaches become what they are: a mess.

What about "use it or lose it"? (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318416)

Didn't read the article, but my experience with government entities is that they receive a specific value of funding each year to spend on gear, training, energy costs, etc.

The nature of the funding goes that if you don't use all of it this year, you get a reduced amount next year. Now this may seem logical -- it may seem like a policy that governs spending. Instead what it is is a policy that drives UNNECESSARY SPENDING.

The places I have been were frugal but appropriate in their spending throughout the year. As the funding for the year would approach a close (in October), all-of-a-sudden the leadership would start spending money like crazy because they had a large surplus. Money would be spent on things that were not actually necessary; if they were necessary, why not get them at any other time during the year?

In several cases, seeing this strange frenzy of spending I would ask the leadership what was going on. They explained the 'use it or lose it' policy and that in order to maintain the funding they got this year, for next year, they *must* spend it all. I was in conflict because I was taught integrity/honesty and there is no integrity in spending up dads helpful money on worthless junk so as to appear that you still have 'need'.
------

The reason I bring this up is because I am curious if the units that will save money via IT consolidation will actually save us money or if they will be (by obvious standing procedure) driven to spend it in pointless/needless ways.

Discuss? Anyone else experience this?

Re:What about "use it or lose it"? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318616)

That's the nature of funding in any large organization that has different departments with separately managed budgets. I've worked in large companies, and they all do this.

Re:What about "use it or lose it"? (2, Insightful)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318964)

You have to consider the personal incentives for managers with budget authority. If you manage a shrinking department, there's no rewards for spending less money. Your prestige and responsibility shrink, and your career path dwindles. For better or for worse, all of the incentives for budget managers are towards bigger and bigger spending allocations.

Re:What about "use it or lose it"? (2, Funny)

jwl17330536 (1603439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319104)

As the funding for the year would approach a close (in October), all-of-a-sudden the leadership would start spending money like crazy because they had a large surplus. Money would be spent on things that were not actually necessary; if they were necessary, why not get them at any other time during the year?

But, I seriously needed the 12 pairs of sunglasses that I got in October 2006. They were only $200.00 / each and we only bought 12 for 12 different people. When I say we needed them I mean we needed to spend more money! I actually wore a pair this morning.

Nice idea in theory... (3, Interesting)

hrieke (126185) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318420)

Now just wait for a data center to be scheduled to close in some Congressman's home district and see how big of a block is put into place.

An Invitation From Microsoft: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318430)

Welcome to the Windows Seizure Platform [microsoft.com] .

Fail.

Yours In Ashgabat,
Kilgore Trout

He should resign (1)

Ricardo (43461) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318438)

I wonder if he will insist the new computers will use "Cobol Data" and "skip logic". These are BS concepts he used in one of his early speaches. should should not act like he knows about IT when he obviously doesnt.
http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/ [dvorak.org]
Basically he claims to have been the CEO of a company with 2 employees. A guy like that should not be holding his Role

Re:He should resign (1)

Ricardo (43461) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318462)

Sorry - my mistake - the company had one employee (guess who?)

History to Repeat Itself? (4, Informative)

lax-goalie (730970) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318448)

I have no problem with the CONCEPT of consolidation, but Virginia's IT outsourcing/consolidation project to Northrup Grumman happened on Kundra's watch. It is an unmitigated disaster.

Years into it, there's not even a complete inventory of the systems that NG is supposed to be managing for the Commonwealth, and at least as of a few months ago, NG couldn't even produce an invoice for the Commonwealth to pay that had more than six or eight line items on it.

I sat through a special meeting of the House Committee on Science and Technology on the issue a few months ago, and the legislature is NOT happy about the situation. Privately, you will hear from them words like "gross negligence" to "I'm convinced it's corruption". The Delegates who engineered the legislation enabling the IT outsourcing are especially pissed.

No disrespect to Kundra, but I don't think he's the right guy to oversee it.

Re:History to Repeat Itself? (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319228)

By the government policy of failing upward, he is not only the right guy, he is the only guy! Noone else has failed on a scale to prove they really have what it takes to fail at this and still come out smelling like roses.

Free software and owned infrastructure (2, Interesting)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318484)

To run a sovereign state, it is necessary for all systems to be based on free software and to be run on public infrastructure. That means no privately hosted cloud computing and no proprietary software. How else are we to ever find out how our government is run?

Re:Free software and owned infrastructure (0, Troll)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318812)

If people want transparency in government they need only look to the free market. If a company provides a good software solution for sovereign states, why should they be barred from participating in the marketplace? The most free solution will win, by definition, since it's a free market and everybody wins in free markets. Socializing our software will only lead to more holocausts.

dang, beat me to it! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318598)

I was halfway through the description and intended to make a "Let's move everything to the Cloud!" joke, but I see the OP beat me to it. How disappointing. Let me give you a little tip: the person who sets up the joke isn't supposed to then tell the punchline. C'mon, Abbot and Costello 101 here, people. I don't know! Third base!

Mark my words (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318606)

It'll fail and be another boondoggle. The federal government is an incredible diverse organization with varying degrees of competence. Much of it, mainly the DoD and DoJ, can't even safely use cloud computing environments except in strict isolation from the rest of the world. Those two departments alone account for the overwhelming majority of federal employees.

consolidation and cloud computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318714)

Can I say, 'that's a paradox?'


I thought cloud computing was about adding more servers but sharing resources more efficiently, and not reducing your datacenters to a mainframe environment, which is what consolidation results in. What he is proposing, is like saying Google, Apple or Microsoft are reducing their datacenter/server inventory to that advantage of cloud computing...

Nothing is for 'Free'. Sure they can cloud compute and ship the same # of servers to specific locations, but they'll hit there bandwidth maximum within a year I bet.

Key phrase: "Budget Authority" (1)

Hasai (131313) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318728)

Does CIO Vivek Kundra have budget authority over these data centers? If not, then the agencies will do with him what they do with every other "czar:" Flip him the bird and go right back to the way they were doing things before.

'Nuff said.

Government! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31318864)

More Government! They can't do anything right...! unless it's nation building....! and militarily outspending the rest of the world combined...!

I hereby declare that we all to trust the gov to build walls along borders and spend $700 annually on building better annihilation technology... but when the gov starts handing out free cheese, we need to wake up! Then we've got full blown socialist tyranny on our hands people!!!
AAAAaaaaHaaVietnam!

Cloud Computing for Governments (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#31318996)

is such a colossally bad idea. Government data living on any system ultimately controlled by a corporation on that corporation's property is so rife for abuse, we are really opening perhaps the biggest Pandora's box of our times. Future Americans will likely rue the day the government gave all control of its data to Corporate America.

Easy pickins (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319162)

Great, now hackers will only have to bypass a few firewalls and hack a few servers instead on 1100.
Letting politics dictate security has always been a surefire way of decimating an empire,
I am going to go get some popcorn and come back to watch...wait for me?

Potential for massive savings (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319182)

The potential for saving is great - assuming they can get it right. I am a defense contractor and I go to military bases that have thousands of one-off servers that are dedicated to a single, specialized contract tasks and are probably being utilized at around 1% of their potential. One base I went to told me they spend $25 million on electricity for their primary data center each year. This base is now requiring all new systems to be virtualized and they are converting all their current systems to blade servers running 20-40 environments per blade. This setup reduces their electricity use significantly and reduces their management costs. Now, imagine if the federal government could do this for every site, every project.

Just think of the possibilities (1)

aarenz (1009365) | more than 3 years ago | (#31319186)

This will make it much easier to take down the government. We will only need 100 bombers to take the data centers offline instead of 1,100. Just think how many fewer families we will have to reward for that.

Actually, it does sound like a good idea, but after working for larger companies, it will not go as smooth as they would like since someone will be holding onto an old AS/400 that no one knows how to change the IP configuration and the pointers to the printers.
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