Recently, a number of federal agencies have been looking to reduce and streamline their use of computing facilities as part of an overarching government program for data center consolidation. Over the summer, the Navy began its efforts in these respects by awarding the first of many contracts to consolidate their data center footprint.
According to Federal News Radio, decision-makers were less than satisfied with the service branch’s progress with the consolidation project. However, the awarded contract is part of a new plan to bolster the process and heavy reliance on commercial hosting vendors.
The first DOD contract for the Navy’s data center consolidation was awarded to technology and computing giant IBM. Although details have yet to emerge as to the value of the contract or IBM’s role, Federal News Radio reported that it is part of the initial phase – or “Tier 1″ – of the Navy’s data center and applications optimization program. The IBM contract was awarded via the general services administration’s overarching Alliant contract vehicle with the federal government, and officials are hoping it will serve to get the ball rolling on the Navy’s data center consolidation efforts.
Speeding up the data center consolidation process
The DCAO initiative, first established in late 2013, was created to streamline and speed up the consolidation process after decision-makers found that the project wasn’t progressing fast enough, according to Merlin. Vice Adm. Ted Branch, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, hopes that the use of commercial hosting providers will ensure a more rapid pace.
“We were kind of plodding along and not really on a pace to achieve our objectives, so we changed to a ‘go big’ strategy and increased the scope of the effort,” Branch said.
He added that as part of this approach, the Navy will seek to move about 7,000 applications and systems to core data center facilities, creating the need for additional hosting services in the near future. Branch noted that the Navy plans to award more contracts before the end of fiscal year 2014 to ensure that there are enough data center resources in place to support the consolidation initiative.
All told, the Navy will move about 75 percent of its data and infrastructure to private data centers, utilizing as much commercial hosting services as possible. DCAO program director John Pope told Federal News Radio that the first step in these regards is to decide if the content should stay in a DOD facility, or if it should be moved to an outside provider.
“The question is should it go into a [Navy enterprise data center] or a DOD data center based on rates and technical factors,” Pope said. “But my goal is to maximize what I can put into a commercial hosting environment.”
Pope noted that during this process, the Navy will also examine the number of IT architectures in place, and reduce these as much as it can. Overall, officials are looking at a short list of system designs to provide a more streamlined, secure and cost-effective infrastructure.