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New Study Reveals ‘Blind Spots’ in Calculating Data Center Consolidation Savings

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Most federal agencies are unable to fully track the savings generated by closing data centers, federal IT decision-makers say, according to a new study by government-IT network MeriTalk and IT storage firm NetApp.

The study, “Measure to Manage II: Consolidation Crash Course?” found that only 23 percent of agency IT officials said their IT departments could track full data center consolidation savings.

These so-called blind spots limit their ability to fully calculate, quantify and, ultimately, reinvest savings.

For example, the study, which surveyed 157 federal IT decision-makers, found 67 percent of respondents did not know the average energy use of their data centers, and 24 percent were unable to pinpoint their data storage efficiency.

While there is some uncertainty surrounding tracking actual savings, the report found that fully 84 percent of agencies are working on data center consolidation, which is sure to warm the hearts of Office of Management and Budget officials who have set ambitious goals to shutter data centers over the next couple of years.

In April, federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra announced some 800 centers would be consolidated by 2015, with 137 of those set for shuttering by the end of the year. Closing the unwieldy centers is a cornerstone of Kundra’s program of streamlining federal IT and ending duplicative spending.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the report served as a “bright warning light.”

“If we’re going to get beyond the low-hanging fruit … we need to make sure that we have the information available and incentives in place to make it work,” Carper said in a release.

The study builds on a previous MeriTalk report from April, which detailed progress on consolidation efforts as well as revealing previously untold savings — to the tune of $18.8 billion.

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