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CIOs in the public sector face roadblocks to data centre consolidation

Kenneth Corbin | Oct. 4, 2013
Amid a White House directive to scale back underused data centers, an effort that will take years to complete, federal CIOs begin to tackle the challenges involved. Among those challenges are incomplete inventories and cost concerns.

"It requires some up-front investment, and I'm telling you that up-front investment, even if you can get a return on investment in three years, is becoming extremely difficult to find in this current environment," said Rear Adm. Robert Day, CIO of the U.S. Coast Guard.

From the perspective of tech vendors looking to do business with the government, the fewer, higher-efficiency data centers that would result from consolidation will require a more fundamental shift in the way that CIOs manage their IT operations, and in the procurement process itself, according to Paul Christman, vice president of Dell Software's public sector division.

First Big Challenge to Government Data Center Consolidation
"The first big challenge that we have to work on together is rewriting the rules for how we sell technology to the government. We need to get away from 'we sell, you buy, you own' to a much more flexible, appropriate model in a consolidated data center that's based more on consumption, rather than ownership. I think there's going to need to be a lot of vendor relations that need to be rewritten," Christman said.

"You're not going to own things. You're going to use things. You're going to lease things. You're going to have different financial models, and hopefully those different financial models will allow us to get past this up-front cost of transition."


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