Data center consolidation has been at the forefront of government IT initiatives recently as the 2015 deadline for footprint reduction continues to draw near. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly and utilize resources more effectively, the federal executives created a goal to close down a number of facilities, but this has been slow going as groups attempt to adjust. While some agencies struggle with their consolidation, others have taken it in stride, becoming an example for their peers to effectively reduce their power and asset usage.
Virtualization and other Web-based platforms have been looked to as a means for consolidation while federal organizations attempt to clean up any redundancies that aren’t utilized. The Army, for example, recently terminated 800 apps that weren’t being used, which will eliminate costs from these programs involving upgrades and software licensing fees, GCN reported. As the group’s portfolio continues to decrease, it will make it significantly easier to migrate these applications. Other government agencies can learn from this example. By classifying software, these groups can identify which apps are mission-critical and what programs are not being used to their fullest potential.
“In certain situations, some users may not be able to migrate from the old version of an application to the new one,” industry expert Christian Heiter said, according to GCN. “In that case, virtual machines can be built to run the old and new applications, which both touch the same common data.”
Leveraging consolidation best practices
As federal groups progressively migrate their workloads and reduce their sprawl, some are still not observing consolidation best practices that could help them get to their goal faster. Federal Times contributor Dave Gwyn noted that in many cases, agencies are using methods similar to what drove the current state of data center usage, which will not aid in their modernization efforts. Many leading enterprises are now leveraging simple hardware with software that can fulfill their workload needs. Government organizations should take a note from these businesses and consolidate in ways that may not have been previously considered.
“Openness to the notion that the best examples of data-center efficiency include taking this new ‘Web-scale’ approach, making computing more efficient and less expensive, and allowing agencies to remain focused on their missions,” Gwyn wrote. “Web-scale dramatically decreases an agency’s infrastructure footprint, power and cooling, resulting in lower costs than traditional approaches.