With the Feds releasing their official map of datacenters that will be closed it's a lot easier to get a look into what exactly the Feds have decided is one of the 800 "datacenters" to be closed by 2015. While the list includes 373 datacenters to be closed by the end of 2012, it's somewhat interesting to see the broad definition of datacenter in use here.
The term "datacenter" can be loosely defined as a facility that houses computing equipment, which handles IT loads, and the supporting equipment that enables the IT loads to be serviced. It has also come to mean that the facility is somewhat self-contained, and that pretty much everything from the point that the power enters the facility is part of the datacenter. But while the Federal list of datacenters on the chopping block contains many facilities that would meet the current image of what most people think of as a datacenter, it's clear that the term has been broadly expanded by the government.
A quick look at the list of "datacenters" shows that many of them are identified as server rooms, not full blown datacenter facilities. And while consolidating the IT loads of many server rooms is a laudable goal, it clearly doesn't have the same cachet as saying "we closed down 800 wasteful datacenters." Many of the facilities being closed down are small server rooms in regional offices for Federal agencies, and in many cases, they are simply part of the facility. Reducing the number of server rooms in a facility from five to three doesn't mean that you have shut down two datacenters, at least in most people's minds; it just means that you have reduced the size of your datacenter by 40%.
The overall success of this initiative will have to be judged by the bottom line; that is, how much cost saving has been achieved by the reduction in IT data processing facilities while still meeting the ever-growing demands of the Federal government. Simply saying "we closed 800 facilities" and calling it a day, means next to nothing on its own.