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Govt. Consolidation is "Cloud First" in Action

More than 800 Datacenters Scheduled to Close by 2014

Sitting in Asia, thousands of miles from the US, alters ones perspective of the world and what's going on in it. China looms over everything here - as an exporter, investor, and when battling over resources.

Yet the US remains by far the most influential country in the world when it decides to be. Thus the word of widespread datacenter consolidation by the US Government - apparently one of Federal CIO Vivek Kundra's final achievements as part of his "Cloud First" strategy - has reached here and should be taken seriously.

Characterized in mainstream media reports as datacenter "closings," with some expected pushback from local congressmen, the plan seems to be a sweeping consolidation that will save the federal government $3 billion a year in operating costs, according to a report in The New York Times.

The US federal government has a consolidated IT budget of $80 billion per year - I compare that to the $30 billion federal budget of the entire government of the Philippines - making it the world's largest IT customer.

This amount is the entire national IT spend of the six major ASEAN nations (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam). Not the amount spend by their governments - the entire IT spend of the countries as a whole.

The Times reported that 195 centers will be closed by the end of this year, another 178 next year, and a total of 800 by 2014. That will leave 1,200 in service.

"Cloud First" in Action
Kundra articulated the Cloud First strategy earlier this year. It envisions 25% of Federal IT migrating to the cloud by mid-2012 - election season. Initial steps have included migrating 21 email systems in the Dept. of Agriculture and an SaaS-based recruiting serrvice by the US Army.

On a related note, I encountered an article by James Powell, in which he interviewed a Sendmail exec who spoke of migrating almost one million mailboxes in 100 systems to a single cloud service across 15 federal agencies.

The exec identified email and low-risk services such as informational websites are prime low-hanging fruit. But cost isn't everything, as the exec also mentioned applications that are elastic in demand as prime cloud candidates.

This matters in Asia because the United States still can serve as an exemplar to the world. Would it be that its politicians and citizens realized this more often.

Government leaders (and for that matter, business leaders) here, watching the highly sophisticated, yet sprawling, IT infrastructure within the US Federal government migrating to the cloud to save money and to become more agile, will now have a great case study and proofs-of-concept to embark on their own initiatives.

http://www.twitter.com/strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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