G-Cloud changes focus of datacentre rollback

G-Cloud changes focus of datacentre rollback

Summary: G-Cloud policy is no longer focusing on shutting datacentres as a way to hit its cost-cutting targets but is instead looking at a range of ways to bring down expenditure, according to Bill McCluggage


In a shift of focus, G-Cloud leaders are looking to datacentre cost-cutting over consolidation to save money, according to deputy government chief information officer Bill McCluggage.

In the past, the G-Cloud strategy called for reducing the number of government datacentres from around 200 to around 12, but this is no longer the main aim, McCluggage told the Cloud Computing World Forum on Tuesday.

He said facility closures will still happen, but other initiatives are being considered to reach the goal of cutting datacentre costs by 35 percent over five years, as laid down in the government's IT strategy paper in March. "We've seen a lot of talk about getting rid of datacentres, [but] it's a very blunt figure," McCluggage told delegates at the London event.

McCluggage then outlined the many ways of measuring the expense of a datacentre. "Is it the price of computing, the power usage effectiveness, the energy cost, whether it's highly virtualised — what do you measure as your key criteria?" he asked.

"If it's just about planting pins in real estate, I don't think we've got it right. This is about reducing the cost of datacentres," McCluggage said.

G-Cloud leaders are now concentrating on the 35-percent cost reduction target, rather than the datacentre number target, as their priority, he confirmed to ZDNet UK at the event. To do this, they are looking at a range of ways to cut expenses over five years.

If it's just about planting pins in real estate, I don't think we've got it right. This is about reducing the cost of datacentres.

– Bill McCluggage

In his speech, McCluggage compared cloud computing to a nascent utility. He noted that "the terms of travel are towards IT being a commodity, a utility. If that's where you're going... then it's more about focusing on the cost, not on the numbers".

"Cloud is about... taking processing power and storage and not being locked in terms of volume throughput and not having to make substantial investment," he said.

Government datacentres are only using around seven percent of their total IT capacity, McCluggage said, noting the government hopes to move this figure to 70 percent by consolidating them.

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Topics: Government UK, Networking

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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  • Most data centre managers simply have no way of accurately ascertaining the energy efficiency of data centre equipment. Most rely on either portable plug-on clamp-meters that can provide just a snap shot of energy consumption at any one time, or the best guess calculation based on the information provided by equipment manufacturers. This is simply not good enough.

    The latest generation of non-intrusive monitoring tools can be deployed without requiring any system downtime. Indeed, within just three days, the average medium-sized data centre can be set up with metering technology, providing managers with real-time access to in-depth and accurate energy consumption information.

    Critically, this technology can be used at rack level, providing unprecedented insight into energy requirements of servers, storage area networks and switches, as well as the attendant supporting equipment, such as lighting and air conditioning, that will enable the controlled reduction of a data centre’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating.

    In addition, such tools continuously monitor power consumption allowing reporting which compares every hour, day, week and month, providing not only clear trends in energy consumption but also the opportunity to set alarms based on predetermined thresholds. Real-time alerts can be raised if consumption exceeds the threshold, improving day-to-day management; while the information can also be integrated with existing systems management tools to provide the complete data centre overview.

    It is now imperative for large businesses to intelligently monitor power usage throughout the organisation. And it is those highest areas of usage, such as the data centre, that must be the priority if businesses are to gain control of energy usage and provide the much tighter control over power consumption that is now being demanded by both government and shareholders.

    Mark King