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US Gov't To Close 137 Data Centers In 2011, More By 2015

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-a-thousand-flowers-bloom dept.

Government 49

1sockchuck writes "The US government has closed 39 data centers this year, and expects to shut down 98 more by the end of 2011, federal CIO Vivek Kundra said Wednesday. The 137 closures are a step towards the long-term goal of consolidating 800 of the government's 2,094 data centers by 2015. Government agencies have identified 100 email systems and 950,000 mailboxes to migrate to a cloud computing model as part of Kundra's 'Cloud First' initiative."

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49 comments

Just great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35966458)

Less places to hack for more information. :(

Re:Just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35971060)

Less of tax payers money being spent on wasted infrastructure. Care to waltz this one out with me?

Eggs (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966462)

Put all your eggs in one basket -- what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Eggs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35966590)

You drop the Basket and all the eggs break!!!..

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Re:Eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35969224)

Anyone from the teabagger party can tell you it is best to drop two at a time.

Re:Eggs (4, Insightful)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966614)

So, we don't want the government spending exorbitant amounts of money, but when they start to make changes we criticize them? While I agree the cloud isn't a perfect place to store stuff, migrating all the low-level and unclassified government documents to a single area seems like a frugal move.

Anyways, even if you only read the summary (forget TFA), they're reducing to about 1200 data centers instead of 2k, leaving plenty of places to back-up or spread data.
Hardly 'one basket'. Much more like a Beowulf cluster.

Re:Eggs (4, Insightful)

Bloopie (991306) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967110)

So, we don't want the government spending exorbitant amounts of money, but when they start to make changes we criticize them?

You must be new here.

If the U.S. Government suddenly announced it was eliminating 10,000 unnecessary bureaucratic jobs, Slashdotters would complain about how much of our tax money it was going to cost to do that.

Re:Eggs (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967750)

So, we don't want the government spending exorbitant amounts of money, but when they start to make changes we criticize them?

You must be new here.

If the U.S. Government suddenly announced it was eliminating 10,000 unnecessary bureaucratic jobs, Slashdotters would complain about how much of our tax money it was going to cost to do that.

Exactly. It would cost thousands to print the paperwork. We would have to train the remaining employees to do the jobs of those let go. Managers would have to spend time trying to determine who we need the least and how best to reorganize without him/her. And people would be reimbursed for accumulated vacation, sick time, sometimes offered early retirement, and possibly even given a severance package.

I would be surprised if this could be done for only $2,000 per person, but, I'm sure there would be a few politicians willing to say something like "we spent 20 million dollars trying to get rid of a few sysadmins in your state, and this is Obama's idea of cost savings"

Re:Eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35973514)

Just to be clear, this is essentially a private cloud because it's all government infrastructure and only government data and services. Also, it's really not one basket, it will remain on the order of 1000's of baskets.

It is way to expensive to maintain small data centers everywhere data is needed, and the point is to share the data anyway. It is far more cost efficient to combine data centers and it will remain resilient because it is geographically distributed.

Re:Eggs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35966798)

Put all your eggs in one basket -- what could possibly go wrong?

Did you read the summary? They have over 2000 baskets. That's forty baskets for every state in the union. I'm sure they can make do with 1200 baskets and still have a measure of redundancy.

Re:Eggs (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967752)

I am betting that with 2000 baskets they still are coming up short when it comes to redundancy, availability, cost, scalability and security.

Re:Eggs (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#35970706)

I am betting that with 2000 baskets they still are coming up short when it comes to redundancy, availability, cost, scalability and security.

With a name like Vivek Kundra, I wouldn't be surprised that the closed data centers reopen in New Delhi.

Re:Eggs (2)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966800)

Well at the moment there are each their own "one baskets" so putting them into one place may magnify the collective risk, it still does not change the situation. They should consolidate and distribute - i.e. move five data centers into two, and make those two redundant.

Re:Eggs (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967176)

and make those two redundant.

Funny thing. When my job was "made redundant", I got laid off...

Amazing how the same phrase means two different things.

Re:Eggs (2)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967380)

No offense, but those phrases mean the same thing. It's just that redundancy generally isn't good for employees (exceptions: pilots, doctors/nurses, nuclear plant operators), but is laudable in data storage.

Re:Eggs (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#35969246)

No offense, but those phrases mean the same thing. It's just that redundancy generally isn't good for employees (exceptions: pilots, doctors/nurses, nuclear plant operators), but is laudable in data storage.

No. If I and a colleague get cross-trained so we can do each other's jobs nobody would call that "redundant skills" even though we've mirrored our skills. If we work in a Java shop then programming COBOL is a redundant skill (though general CS might still be useful). It's a word engineers and computer scientists co-opted, originally it means excessive, superfluous, useless. It can also mean repetitive, but only in that sense. "Look at all those redundant safety nets" doesn't mean they're covering for each other in case of failure, it means there's excessively many. At least it did originally, the idea that "redundant system" ~= "robust system that handles component failure" is only recent. But language is an evolving thing so if enough people use it differently, the meaning will change.

Re:Eggs (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966886)

10 years ago:
Government to expand number of data centers
"More points of failure -- what could possibly go wrong?"

Slashdot is never satisfied.

Re:Eggs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35967040)

I keep all of my eggs in one refrigerator. Effectively, a rather large, temperature stable basket.

So far, nothing has happened to my eggs. While I'm sure a frozen side of beef might one day fall out of a cargo plane and by astronomical chance, crash through my roof and crush my refrigerator, taking my eggs with it, well, that's a risk I'm happy to take.

They're just eggs, people. Sheesh.

Re:Eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35967086)

And a central system can't have multiple backup systems?

The almost all pros to centralizing with some negatives,

Pros:
Easier to backup and keep track of data
Data is more * consistent* since it's a central location rather then multiple locations that may not be up to date with data change (which is common)
Lower Cost
Higher *chance* of quality (maintenance and security) since you'll have better dedicated staff maintaining the single system rather then multiple organizations with random budgets allocated to it
Easier to share information across organizations that uses the same information allowing for speed and efficiency

Cons:
Easier to share information across organizations that uses the same information allowing for abuse
If hacked, more information can be stolen as greater security doesn't guarantee protection
Outages will affect the entire government though this can be offsetted with proper design and backup system

That said, even if they make a central system, they can easily design the system to compartment-nize the data which would reduce the cons. Of course, this all depends on the design of the central system.

Re:Eggs (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967802)

This is a great idea! I always thought the "cloud" thing was lame anyways, so lets just start calling it "The Basket". Once the IT people start using it, middle management will pick up on it just to sound like they are in the know.

Boss to IT guy:
How is the migration of all our services to the cloud going?
IT guy:
We don't call it that anymore sir, bad connotations from the Amazon episode.
Boss:
Well what do we call it now?
IT guy:
Sir, we now refer to it as "The Basket".
Boss:
Because all of our eggs are in it?
IT guy:
Oh no sir, because it is a large, self supporting structure of many interwoven members.
Boss:
Oh, OK. Please make sure marketing is aware of the new terminology, we would not want to look out of date!
IT guy:
Yes sir, just as soon as I finish with our eggs...

Re:Eggs (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 2 years ago | (#35969288)

This is a great idea! I always thought the "cloud" thing was lame anyways, so lets just start calling it "The Basket". Once the IT people start using it, middle management will pick up on it just to sound like they are in the know.

  Boss to IT guy:
How is the migration of all our services to the cloud going?
  IT guy:
We don't call it that anymore sir, bad connotations from the Amazon episode.
  Boss:
Well what do we call it now?
  IT guy:
Sir, we now refer to it as "The Basket".
  Boss:
Because all of our eggs are in it?
  IT guy:
Oh no sir, because it is a large, self supporting structure of many interwoven members.
  Boss:
Oh, OK. Please make sure marketing is aware of the new terminology, we would not want to look out of date!
  IT guy:
Yes sir, just as soon as I finish with our eggs...

nice! :-)

Re:Eggs (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967920)

"Put all your eggs in one basket -- what could possibly go wrong?"

Well, I remember Bellovin (the "father" of the computer firewall) saying something to the meaning of "the claver will say ' don't put all your eggs in one basket' but the wise will tell you 'put all your eggs in one basket and watch very carefully that basket'".

summary of problems (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966520)

Technocracy: centralisation of government data with easy cross-referencing is harmless.

False premise: clouds increase reliability.

Maxim: one big basket comfortably holds all eggs.

Actual purpose of this exercise: corporate welfare for systems providers.

Definition of a 'data centre' (1)

MarkH (8415) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966558)

Google have ones needing a hydro-electric plant to power.

Our it team call the locked cabinet downstairs as another

Re:Definition of a 'data centre' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35968556)

From the FDCCI FAQ:

For the purpose of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (DCCI) any room that
is devoted to data processing servers, i.e., including server closets (typically 200 sq. ft.)
and server rooms (typically 500 sq.ft.) within a conventional building is considered a
Data Center, just like larger floor spaces or entire buildings dedicated to housing servers,
storage devices, and network equipment.

So counting the number of centers closed is like sleeping with your sister - it pads the numbers but doesn't necessarily *mean* anything.

Re:Definition of a 'data centre' (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 2 years ago | (#35969680)

200 sq.ft. is a "closet"?!? I wanna live in their house. My *office* isn't 200sq.ft.

(it's 97sq.ft. and the data center room is 577 sq.ft. - less the fire system riser closet.)

used servers for sale where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35966596)

what happens to these servers after they go offline? Are they for sale anywhere?

Re:used servers for sale where? (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966874)

Govliquidation would auction off any surplused equipment online after any other interested agencies screened it.

If you like pallets of old servers with no hard disks, register and monitor the auctions. I find bidders tend to overpay on many items and it's often worse than Ebay. If you are buying something unusual, or something heavy you have the gear to move, you can do well.

Marketing & corruption succeeds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35966788)

Congradulations on replacing old data centers with other more centralised data centers..errr "clouds".
Next decade They'll replaced them with "Heaven's" computing.
Well some bank accounts will be close to that, only that now its branded as "Safe Heaven's" accounting, but they'll just call it Safe Heaven's computing or some sort of new but vague generic buzzword.

Hope they don't outsource to Northrop Grumman... (3, Insightful)

lax-goalie (730970) | more than 2 years ago | (#35966926)

...because the latest in Virginia's IT outsourcing saga is that the State Police are having severe access problems to servers hosted by NG.

Outsourcing to these guys has been a disaster for the Commonwealth. And it happened on Vivek Kundra's watch.

Re:Hope they don't outsource to Northrop Grumman.. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967174)

No worries, I'm sure Northrop Grumman will bid on the contract to fix it.

Re:Hope they don't outsource to Northrop Grumman.. (1)

clay_shooter (1680300) | more than 2 years ago | (#35968956)

Redundant SAN setup with replicated offsite storage , redundant paths and really big memory caches. Mongo cache starts having errors but looks like it's working (maybe because of error correction?). Later the backup cache starts having errors but the system appears to still be running. (Supposedly no one had ever see two controllers go bad) Some time later they decide to fail over to the backup site. Turns out the controllers were replicating corrupted data to the offsite storage. Bam! Bad luck and bad decisions can wipe out any fail safe.

Who chooses (-1, Troll)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967048)

How do they choose which data centers to remove.

I'll guess that thay will look for code words on the sites, like "Long Form Birth Certificate", "Closing Gitmo", or anything dealing with HIS middle name or any of his campaign promises. Like the ancient Egyptians, if you don't like something, you destroy any references to it. Scrape it off all statues (or web sites).

It's intresting to note that they plan on eliminating all those data centers with little or no complaints, but try to remove one fraud filled giveaway program, and the shit hits the fan.

It's hardly one basket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35967394)

People are always inclined to choose one solution over another when reality is always about balance or the right mix - too much centralisation, then the risk increases, too little, it's chaos. At present I think the government systems are just too many to be efficient and effective and reducing them through the cloud is a good choice.

137 datacenters? Wow (-1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#35967436)

That is one hell of a DMCA letter to turn off 137 datacenters. What was that, a takedown of http://.gov/ [.gov] for containing content similar to .CN ?

What nationality is Kundra ? sound Indian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35967734)

I guess it's a bad time to be a Fed IT System Admin/Engineer/Manager/Director

Next Kundra will outsource Federal IT Support.

Cloud = Outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35969194)

Look, plain and simple, the placing anything into the cloud is the same thing as outsourcing.

If you could not convince anyone to buy into outsourcing let me try and BS you and tell you about this grand vision called the cloud. The MBA eat that up and are being brain washed in MBA school about the next generation of outsourcing. First we outsourced all our service centers, etc (and we see how that worked out) and now we are "outsourcing" our IT functions.....WOOT! Btw, when you put your functions in the cloud, where will your job be afterwards?

This is not about protecting one’s own interests, just the hoodwink that is being pulled on many folks. Cloud computing is a marketing scam! Hosted Services providers also known as ASP or Application Service Providers have existed for a long time before the cloud. the ASP services have just evolved and now has a new name. Call a spade a spade.

How are they gonna get this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35969388)

I once worked as a contractor at a government agency. One day, one of my government handlers took me to the storage are in one of the basements of the facility where we worked. I saw pallet after pallet, box after box, of white CRT monitors, white keyboards, white mice and white desktop speakers. I asked for an explanation. He told me that the CPU's and the peripherals were ordered by two different people. The CPU's that were ordered were black. By the time the mistake was discovered, everything had been paid for and delivered. In addition, during the long procurement process, the general computing public had already transitioned from CRT to LCD monitors. The white peripherals went to the basement; newer black peripherals, including LCD monitors, were then purchased.

Rollerball (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35970980)

There is a classic dystopian movie from 1975 named "Rollerball". A couple of the scenes involve a futuristic library and a computer that holds all knowledge, except for the missing bits. We're on the way!

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35970998)

...right after I got hired at the local DoD datacenter.

Re:Great... (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 2 years ago | (#35972664)

a lot of this stuff is more going to virtual servers (consolidation) than a massive centralized data center.
for instance, my battalion has three data centers (over three physical installations) and theyre dumping one of them by relocating as many physical servers to virtualized ones (and physically moving ones that cannot be virtualized at this time) in one of the other two. gets rid of a lot of servers and saves a lot of money on electricity/lifecycle/service contracts/backups/etc, but doesnt get rid of any sysadmins (though a few have to move offices). regardless of manpower, thats $datacenters - 1 in the grand DoD scheme of things.

other stuff like the "cloud" (bullshit term for a DoD owned centralized data center) exchange server migration does remove a lot of servers, but most working IT in the DoD know that everyone does dozens of jobs already and losing one server (even an exchange server) just means you have more time to focus on all your other projects. we also get bigger mailboxes and it costs a lot less, seems like a good deal.

Not sure closing is wise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35971040)

Sure you can shut them down or rent the spaces out to businesses or cities. Visualized computing and cloud are great. But it's inefficient to get rid of the infrastructure when you'll just need it again in 10 or 20 later. Computer server rooms require a major investment as far as power installation, air conditioning, false floors and conduits for wiring. Imagine if they bulldozed the pentagon every time between official wars just to rebuild it.

The one thing we know for sure is that technology will always require infrastructure. Build it, build it to last, build it so it once it's built it doesn't require much maintenance or cost except for a new coat of paint every 10 years.

Kundra ... Oh Yea ... Right ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35971308)

This is the asshole shithead from DC Citiy IT SweatShop.

What a loozer ... what a kissass.

Now there is no doubt why the Fed's IT is in such dissarray.

This guy need to be hit by a car while J-walking across K Street! Quick! It's for the good of the country!

He's a crook not a geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35973826)

From: http://gawker.com/#!5174642/obamas-thieving-geek-guilty-of-bad-taste

Here's the real scandal: Kundra, a former marketing executive, has no real tech chops. The credulous geek fanboy community has embraced him as one of his own, forgiven his scandals, and cheered his return to office. Why? He's nothing more than a Web 2.0 flimflam artist, best known for giving speeches about how the government should be more like Wikipedia and YouTube — the kind of happy talk that wins him kudos on Twitter, but has nothing to do with the hard work of making government IT systems work better.

He's never worked in IT. He worked in MARTKETING! and this guy is supposed to he the head of government IT? Just goes to show to have a job in politics you don't have to be good at what you do or even worked in the field before. You just have to be a liar and a thief.

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