via National Journal
The White House announced on Wednesday that it will close 800 data centers by 2015 to cut $3 billion worth of duplication and inefficiency and will move storage to Internet-based services better known as “the cloud.”
The Office of Management and Budget said that 373 centers will close by 2012, freeing up acres of real estate. Analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will be cut.
The data centers, which arr scattered across the country but are heavily concentrated on the Eastern Seaboard, house computer systems and can consume 200 times the electricity that standard office spaces use. Since 1998, the number of centers has ballooned from 432 to more than 2,000. Agencies have closed 81 data centers since the initiative began and are scheduled to close 114 more by the end of 2011.
“With data centers that run as large as three and a half football fields, shutting down excess data centers will save taxpayers billions of dollars by cutting costs for infrastructure, real estate, and energy,” Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said in a statement. “At the same time, it will improve the security of government data and allow us to focus on leveraging technology to make government services work better for the American people.”
Kundra told The New York Times in an interview that nearly 140,000 employees at the General Services Administration and the Agriculture Department have moved to cloud-based e-mail provided by Google and Microsoft, saving about $42 million a year.
Kundra told The Times that using cloud computing services could save $5 billion a year because agencies will not have not buy their own software and computer hardware.