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Open Table for Data Centers? Kundra’s Big Idea for Shared Services

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Data center consolidation is a big part of the federal IT overhaul announced by federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra last week at a White House forum.

The Office of Management and Budget has spent the better part of a year identifying the more than 2,000 unwieldy data centers and marking some for consolidation. The formal guidelines spelled out in the new plans mean a reduction of 800 by 2015.

But where will agencies turn if they find they need more data capacity?

That’s where a new program – something similar to Open Table, the website and mobile app that allows users to find and book restaurant reservations online – comes in, Kundra said.

If one agency needs more space and another has it, the first agency can use that space already available within government rather than purchasing that capability, Kundra said.

“Think about an Open Table for data centers,” he said. “Right now, you can make reservations to your favorite restaurant online. Why don’t we have the same system for data center capabilities across the federal government?”

The tool would allow agencies to essentially order storage space or IT capability from each other. If one agency has it and another needs it, the space can be shared from within the government, instead of purchasing new capabilities.

Kundra said the government is revisiting – and most, important, rethinking – its entire shared-services strategy. According to the plan, which is broken up into six-, 12- and 18-month implementation periods, he will helm the effort to develop a governmentwide shared-services strategy.

The data center Open Table program is expected to launch in the next 12-18 months, Kundra said.

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