OMB Thinks Green on Data Center Consolidation

Vivek Kundra and Nancy Sutley; Photo: rediff.com, whitehouse.gov

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra has long promoted the Office of Management and Budget’s efforts to shutter government data centers in a push to save costs and prepare the foundation for federal cloud-computing platforms.

But a new partnership between OMB and the Council on Environmental Quality now means one of the top White House tech priorities is both saving and thinking green.

In a memo released last week, Kundra and CEQ chair Nancy Sutley described the particulars of the new partnership, which further extends the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative to reduce data centers.

The administration’s IT leaders hope the unwieldy centers will one day become anachronisms as the federal government fully deploys cloud computing. Closing significant numbers of them has the added benefit of freeing up money and reducing the feds’ carbon footprint.

Linking together two of the government’s main goals — IT reform and sustainability efforts — has gained traction lately, observers have noted.

“Both sustainability and data center consolidation have been goals of the Obama administration’s IT team, led by Kundra, from its outset,” InformationWeek reports. “Until recently, however, the two strategies were not officially linked.

But the Kundra and Sutley memo, which aligns data center consolidation with sustainability initiatives makes clear the connections between the two.

In the past couple of year, federal data centers have ballooned in number, “leading to costly, redundant and inefficient IT investments,” Kundra wrote in the memo.

But the data center consolidation and reduction is also an investment in sustainability and green IT, he wrote.

“The effect of data center proliferation on energy usage is why our two teams coordinated to include Electronics Stewardship and Data Centers as one element of the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, and why we are continuing to work together to align our efforts,” Kundra said.

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